Jeanette Fitzsimon’s announcement she will step down from the co-leadership of the Green Party in June is not unexpected.
As a list MP she could resign from parliament too without triggering a by-election but plans to stay on as an “active backbencher”.
While I admired her ability to stay calm and polite, I lost respect for Fitzsimons when she allowed her anger at the attacks on the Greens by the Exclusive Brethren to blind her to the anti-democratic nature of the Electoral Finance Act.
The party got into parliament because of MMP but it’s failure to get into government also reflects badly on the leadership and is due to philosophy and direction which make it look at least as much red as green. Its radical left social and economic agenda alienates supporters and potential partners who might be sympathetic to at least some of its environmental goals.
The party rules require male and female co-leaders and Sue Bradford and Meteria Turei have announced they’ll contest the position.
But who leads the party may not be such an important question as to where she leads (or to be more accurate co-leads) it.
Fitzsimons and co-leader Russel Norman do seem to have learnt from the Maori Party and are trying to find some common ground with National.
If the party is not to languish on the far left, the new leadership will have to build on this and make an effort to move more towards the centre because that’s where the power in MMP lies.