We have a government; what’s next?

I’ve got a piece up at Radio NZ about the next steps for our new goverment: After the sigh of relief, time to set a decisive course

For those of us on the left, the temptation will be to down tools and do whatever we can to support Ardern. Our instinct will be to look beyond the first three years, to set the course for a two- or three- or, gods be good, a four-term Labour-led government. See the big picture! It won’t happen overnight but it will happen!

I caution against that.

Let’s be honest, I’m most proud of getting the phrase “wombling free” into a published piece of political commentary.

New Green co-leader announced today

The Green Party’s AGM is on today, and delegates will be voting to elect a new male co-leader in accordance with the wishes of their branches.

At the time of writing this post (about 8:45 on Friday) iPredict has James Shaw at 57%, and Kevin Hague at 43% – but you can take that with as large a grain of salt you like, taking into account the utter un-scientific-ness of iPredict and all the conspiracy theories about whether certain rightwingers’ over-enthusiastic endorsement of Shaw is a double-triple-reverse-psychology bluff or not.

I’m not a Green Party member so I’ve avoided forming a preference myself – much less commenting on what the Greens should or shouldn’t do. It’s their party, and they get to make the decision about who they want leading them.

Hague and Shaw seem from the outside to represent slightly different directions for the party to take, but we have to keep in mind that whichever wins, he’ll be a co leader to the very capable and experienced and awesome Metiria Turei, so it’s not quite so decisive as some commentators have made out.

But in any case, the Greens are the third largest party in New Zealand and will be a key part of any future Labour-led government. So I have a passing interest in the result and will be very interested to see how the new male co-leader marks his territory over the next couple of weeks.

The announcement should be livestreamed at https://livestream.com/nzgreens.

Andrea Vance: five important unanswered questions

Andrea Vance has posted five unanswered questions from the Beehive – click through for her answers:

1. When is an asset sale not an asset sale? 

2. They won’t be selling them off cheaply to developers, right?

3. Does a politician ever really step down for family reasons?

4. Why was the usually loquacious Key acting so weird on Sabin?

5. Anyway, who’s going to be the new Greens co-leader?

The state housing firesale and the sudden (but apparently not at all unexpected) resignation of Mike Sabin must be major weak spots for the government as the 2015 political year cranks up. Key hasn’t handled the latter at all well, but until any more details of Sabin’s situation come to light it’s difficult to say just how damaging it’s going to be.

I’m very interested to see how the Greens handle their leadership challenge, having been quite involved in Labour’s last year. Full respect to Norman for putting his family first and stepping down at the very beginning of the political term – there’s never an ideal time for a leader, even a co-leader, to go, and the right are always going to try to spin a senior pollie’s resignation as part of some deeper organisational malaise. I’m sure the Greens will ignore the haters and get on with the democratic process, and who ends up winning could have a big impact on the wider left.