After a rather roller-coaster start to the year, the Green Party is apparently looking to bolster its local government line up. We have been told that the Party has lined up former long serving Green MP, Sue Kedgley to stand for the Regional Council.
We understand that Kedgley has been pressured to stand to add some ‘credibility’ to the Green brand in Wellington. This comes after the Green Party selected its underwhelming list of candidates for the Wellington City Council wards, which it still hasn’t formally announced despite leaks of the list from Green members, and its decision to back away from plans to stand two candidates in Lambton.
Kedgley has often been derided for being the one behind most of the calls to ban things. In fact she was known for a time as ‘Crazy-Food-Sue’ amongst departmental officials for her constant calls for ‘evil’ foods to be banned. She has kept up her staunch opposition to things through her website since retiring from Parliament. Known for driving a 3L monster vehicle, she also lives in heartland Green territory, Oriental Bay, where people can afford to care about and buy organic chick peas when they need to whip up a quick hummus.
This won’t come as a surprise to most people as the Regional Council has been a common retirement scheme for hack pollies of all colours when they get put out to pasture. Labour has three former MPs, there are numerous former mayors so it makes sense that the Greens would seek to reheat their own cup of (Green) tea (definitely with no evil sugar added 🙂 ).
However, there is already a Green in the Wellington ward and as Kedgley has a far greater profile than the Green incumbent, Paul Bruce, it is doubtful that the Greens could win two spots and the result could be that she bumps Bruce out. So is this really about growing the Green presence? Or is this to provide a senior Party figure with a comfortable retirement – not to mention a platform to call for more things to be banned?
Either way, the fact that such a high profile Green has been tapped to stand for local government once again shows that the Party understands the impact further embarrassment at a local level could have on the performance of the Party at the General Election in 2014. The Green Party knows it needs Wellington, the growth in size of the caucus was in large part due to the efforts of James Shaw and co, who pushed Labour’s now deputy leader into embarrassingly third place for the Party Vote in Wellington Central.
The performance in Wellington could be the difference between the Greens being a bit-part minor player in a Labour-led government or the Party making up a third of the numbers in a true Labour-Green government.