Further update: Ok, Fitzsimons is going to stand down from the co-leadership (but not as an MP) in June.
Jeanette Fitzsimons is expected to announce her retirement from the female co-leader position sometime soon, which inevitably leads to speculation about who could step into her sandals:
The main candidates for her job, which under Green Party rules must be held by a woman, are MPs Sue Bradford and Metiria Turei. The new leader is likely to be announced at the party annual conference in June.Imho this points to a mistake that the Greens made in selecting their list at the last election. They didn't seek much in the way of new, younger, blood, and although they got their best result ever they haven't brought in any new exciting MPs that could step in when Fitzsimons goes.
Fitzsimons, who had earlier indicated she would probably retire at the next election, refused to comment yesterday. Co-leader Russel Norman also refused to discuss her future.
Fitzsimons' departure will leave a difficult problem for the party. She is a widely liked and admired politician, with appeal across the political spectrum.
Neither Bradford nor Turei has similar appeal. Bradford, once a fiery Marxist radical, has softened her image, but her sponsorship of the anti-smacking bill drew much flak.
Turei has the progressive appeal of being a Maori woman, but she may be seen as too radical to have wide appeal.
It is not known if Catherine Delahunty, elected to parliament at last year's general election, will be a candidate for the co-leadership. Her lack of parliamentary experience could count against her.
It is understood that veteran Green MP Sue Kedgley is not seeking the post.
I'd love to see Bradford or Turei in the role, but I wonder if the party will see them as too unpalatable to the general public (which I think is unfair, but true). Actually the Green co-leader doesn't have to appeal to the entire electorate (although Fitzsimons did have very wide appeal), surely? Unless they have suddenly changed strategy and expect to get 20% plus of the party vote next time? Act don't expect Rodney Hide to have broad support and appeal.
So will the Greens go outside their MPs, as they did when Russel Norman stepped up from the broader membership after Rod Donald died?