James Shaw (New Zealand politician)

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The Honourable
James Shaw
James Shaw, 2014.jpg
Minister for Climate Change
Assumed office
26 October 2017
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
Preceded by Paula Bennett
Minister of Statistics
Assumed office
26 October 2017
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
Preceded by Scott Simpson
3rd Male co-leader of the Green Party
Assumed office
30 May 2015
Co-leader with Metiria Turei until 9 August 2017
Marama Davidson since 8 April 2018
Preceded by Russel Norman
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Green party list
Assumed office
20 September 2014
Personal details
Born (1973-05-06) 6 May 1973 (age 45)
Wellington, New Zealand
Political party Green
Residence Aro Valley, Wellington
Profession Politician
Website Green Party profile

James Peter Edward Shaw (born 6 May 1973) is a New Zealand politician and a leader of the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. Voters elected Shaw to the New Zealand parliament at the 2014 general election as a list representative of the Green Party. The party selected Shaw as its male co-leader in May 2015. Following Metiria Turei's resignation in August 2017, Shaw became the party's sole leader for the duration of the 2017 general election.[1]

In October 2017 the Green Party agreed to support a Labour-led government. Shaw became the Minister outside Cabinet for Statistics and Climate Change Issues, as well as holding the Associate Finance portfolio.

Early life[edit]

Shaw was born in Wellington, and raised by his mother.[2] He attended Wellington High School (1985–1990) and Victoria University of Wellington. Shaw first tried his hand at politics in 1992 standing for the Wellington City Council on a Green ticket. He contested the Western Ward and came seventh out of ten candidates.[3] He later moved to London, living there for 12 years, before returning to New Zealand in 2010.[4] Shaw completed an MSc in sustainability and business leadership at the University of Bath School of Management in 2005.[citation needed]

Career before politics[edit]

Prior to returning to Wellington in 2010, Shaw worked in the consulting division at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Between 2011 and 2014, Shaw worked as both a consultant for HSBC bank on "environmental awareness programmes for future leaders" and also at Wellington social enterprise the Akina Foundation.[5]

Political career[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate List Party
2014–2017 51st List 12 Green
2017–present 52nd List 1 Green

In the 2011 election, Shaw stood in the Wellington Central electorate, succeeding Sue Kedgley. He came third in the candidate vote after Labour and National, but second in the party vote, beating Labour into third place.[6][7] He was 15th on the 2011 party list and the highest-placed candidate who did not make it into Parliament.[8]

Shaw at the triennial Aro Valley candidates meeting.

Shaw has said that in the 2011 Greens selection process, party members "didn't have a lot of time to get to know me" and disregarded him as "an ex-PWC management consultant in a suit". He says he has proved his worth to the party subsequently, and was rewarded with a higher list ranking in the 2014 election.[5] Shaw was one of two Green Party members with significantly increased draft list rankings in March 2014 (the other is Julie Anne Genter).[6]

Bryce Edwards said in The New Zealand Herald that Shaw represented "the more environmentally-focused, non-left side of the [Green] party – what might be called the New Greens faction – people who are more at home in the business world wearing corporate attire than amongst the far left. ... There will be many that see Shaw as a future co-leader of the party."[9]

First term in Parliament: 2014–present[edit]

Shaw was elected to Parliament in the 2014 general election on the Green Party list.[10]

When Russel Norman announced his retirement from the co-leadership position, Shaw was one of the four candidates who ran to replace him. During the campaign, he said that as co-leader he would try and connect with "the 28 percent of voters that considered voting Green last year and didn’t and remove all of the barriers that are currently stopping them voting Green".[11]

At the Green Party AGM on 30 May 2015 he received the highest number of votes, and was elected male co-leader.[12] Shaw won 54 per cent of the first preference votes, compared to Kevin Hague who won 44 per cent (the other two candidates both won 1 per cent).[2]

The day after becoming co-leader, he called for a cross-party consensus on climate change, and said there was room for the Greens and National to work together on the issue.[13] He also said in his first major speech that he wanted the Green Party to be "more like modern New Zealand", and expand its membership both in terms of numbers and to include a more diverse group of people.[2]

2017 general election[edit]

Following the resignation of co-leader Metiria Turei due to the political fallout over her benefit and electoral fraud disclosures, James Shaw became the Green Party's solo leader for the duration of the 2017 general election campaign. A female co-leader will be appointed after the Party's AGM in 2018.[1] As party leader, Shaw has called for calm in the wake of hostility among party members towards the media and the resignation of fellow Green Members of Parliament David Clendon and Kennedy Graham in protest of Turei's initial refusal to resign.[14] On 13 August, Shaw announced the Party's new slogan "Love New Zealand" at a relaunch in Auckland.[15]

During the Green Party's climate change campaign launch in Auckland, Shaw announced that New Zealanders would get an annual dividend of $250 as part of a proposed Kiwi Climate Fund that would tax farmers for pollution and replace the current New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme. Shaw also proposed a Zero Carbon Act with the goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and the establishment of an Independent Climate Change Commission.[16] During the 2017 elections, the Green Party's share of the party vote dropped to 6.3% with the Party retaining eight seats in Parliament. As the first on the Green party list, Shaw was re-elected.[17] During coalition-forming negoitations, Shaw announced that the Greens would be pursuing a coalition with Labour and the socially-conservative New Zealand First parties but ruled out cooperating with the National Party.[18]

In October 2017, the Greens entered a confidence and supply arrangement with the Labour Party and New Zealand First which gives them three ministers outside cabinet and one under-secretarial role.[19] This marks the first time the Greens have been in government.[20] Shaw assumed the ministerial portfolios for Climate Change and Statistics, and Associate Minister of Finance.[21]

Political views[edit]

Shaw believes that the market can be reformed to incorporate sustainability within its normal operations. In an interview with the Aro Valley Valley Voice he put forward his views:

Shaw is one of the new breed of Green MPs who have no problem with leader Russel Norman's statement that the party is 'pro-market'. The fuss around that statement, he says, came from "people who are afraid of the word 'market' because of the switch to a free market economy over the last 30 years" – people, in other words, who don't understand that properly functioning markets can serve the wider good.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Shaw and his wife live in Aro Valley.[5]

See also[edit]

Electoral history of James Shaw


  1. ^ a b Davison, Isaac (9 August 2017). "Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei resigns". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 13 August 2017. Co-leader James Shaw said he will be the sole co-leader for the election.
  2. ^ a b c Davidson, Isaac (31 May 2015). "'More like modern NZ' says new co-leader". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  3. ^ Bly, Ross (1992). City of Wellington: Local Body Elections, 1992 (Report). Wellington City Council. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  4. ^ Tyler, Sue (11 September 2014). "Elections 2014: James Shaw for Wellington Central". Wellintonista. Archived from the original on 23 September 2014. Retrieved 21 September 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d "Shaw plans to be "MP for Aro"". Valley Voice. Wellington. September 2014. pp. 1, 3.
  6. ^ a b Davison, Isaac (18 March 2014). "Green's draft list favours youth, and poll shows more will win seats". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 18 March 2014.
  7. ^ "Official Count Results -- Wellington Central". Electoral Commission. 10 December 2011.
  8. ^ "2011 election candidates". Green Party. Retrieved 29 May 2011.
  9. ^ Edwards, Bryce (17 March 2014). "Bryce Edwards: NZ First vs the Greens". The New Zealand Herald.
  10. ^ "Wellington's Labour MPs (and Dunne) all re-elected, but party vote goes to National". Scoop.co.nz. 21 September 2014. Retrieved 21 September 2014.
  11. ^ Napier, Henry (10 May 2015). "James Shaw Interview". Critic. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  12. ^ "James Shaw named Greens new co-leader". The New Zealand Herald. 30 May 2015. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  13. ^ "Call for consensus on climate change". Radio New Zealand. 31 May 2015. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  14. ^ McCullogh, Craig (11 August 2017). "Greens' Shaw calls for calm, defends media". Radio New Zealand. Retrieved 13 August 2017.
  15. ^ "Greens election slogan: 'Love New Zealand' new but old". New Zealand Herald. 13 August 2017. Retrieved 13 August 2017.
  16. ^ Jones, Nicholas (10 September 2017). "Greens leader James Shaw announces Kiwi Climate Fund". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
  17. ^ "2017 General Election – Official Result". New Zealand Electoral Commission. Retrieved 7 October 2017.
  18. ^ Davison, Isaac (24 September 2017). "Green Party leader James Shaw rules out contacting National". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  19. ^ Greens set to enter confidence and supply deal
  20. ^ Roy, Eleanor Ainge. "Jacinda Ardern to be New Zealand's next PM after Labour coalition deal". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  21. ^ "Ministerial List". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Retrieved 26 October 2017.

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Russel Norman
Male co-leader of the Green Party
Served alongside: Metiria Turei
Political offices
Preceded by
Paula Bennett
Minister for Climate Change Issues Incumbent
Preceded by
Scott Simpson
Minister of Statistics