Greens need new leaders - rejected candidate

NEIL REID
Last updated 05:00 01/12/2013

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Jilted Green Party hopeful David Hay has called on the party's leadership to be dumped.

Within minutes of learning his application to be a Green Party candidate at the 2014 general election had been rejected yesterday, Hay fired a broadside at co-leaders Russel Norman and Metiria Turei.

A member of the Green Party for the past seven years, he claimed its current leadership had "betrayed" promises they had made to the people of New Zealand about how they would conduct themselves.

Describing the combination of Norman and Turei as "past their use-by date", he said the duo were no longer the best match for the Green Party at a time when New Zealand faced some "huge challenges" politically.

"The Green Party's co-leaders need to step down and step away," Hay said. "We don't want people like this in Parliament. We don't want them in Government. We don't want them in the party. I have completely lost faith in the ability of the party's co-leaders to stick to the Green Party kaupapa and do what the Green Party does . . . to be fair, transparent, and honest, to do a better type of politics."

Hay last week confirmed he would challenge Norman for the male co-leadership of the Green Party. A vote is set to be taken at their next annual conference in mid-2014.

He said the leadership of Norman and Turei had "lost their edge - it is time for them to go".

Hay said he was taking the stand because he doubted the Green Party was well-suited to attracting a sizeable party vote in the wider Auckland region.

He was also disillusioned after the party's recommendation that he not be accepted into the candidate pool in 2014. The Green Party national executive yesterday voted to accept the recommendation that Hay - who had hoped to stand in the North Shore electorate - be overlooked.

Hay was a Green Party candidate at the 2008 and 2011 elections.

Before yesterday's vote, he released a series of emails between himself and Green Party general secretary Jon Field.

They included one which contained a series of comments from party officials - whose identities were withheld - who said Hay should not be considered again as a candidate.

One wrote: "I do have a genuine apprehension that he may do something publicly damaging to the party if given the platform as a candidate again".

Another wrote that Hay had been "unable to follow the agreed strategy of the party" while campaigning in Epsom. The person added that he "can not trust his word".

Green Party co-convenor Georgina Morrison said "some issues" had surrounded Hay's potential to be a standout candidate as early as 2008.

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His selection as a candidate in 2011 - when he stood in the Epsom electorate - was a "second chance" for him to prove himself.

Morrison said the Green Party was committed to field "higher calibre candidates" in 2014.

"Every political party has the right to determine the best candidates to put forward to voters," she said.

"Today's decision is really as simple as ensuring the Green Party is putting forward great candidates."

When asked if Hay's handling of the issue highlighted why he was not a suitable candidate, Morrison replied: "Absolutely. I think the public can judge for themselves based on his last week's performance [when he challenged Norman]."

- © Fairfax NZ News

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