Russel Norman resigns as Green co-leader
LATEST: Russel Norman is standing down as Greens co-leader.
The announcement came at a short-notice press conference at 11am.
The Australian ex-pat, whose third child was born two days ago, gave no expalantion beyond a genric statement that he wanted to seek his next challenge and spend more time with his family.
His statement to media:
I am announcing today that I will not be standing for Co-leader of the Green Party at our AGM in May.
This is my ninth year as Co-leader and I think it’s time for a change.
This is something I have considered for some time and over the summer break I have had the space to think hard about my future.
I concluded that after nearly a decade, it is a good time to find a new challenge for myself, and to spend more time with my family, and now is also a good time for new leadership for the party.
Norman said at his 11am press conference he would stay on as an MP until the next election.
"It isn't an issue of someone one trying to push me out, it was just time to go," he said.
At the 2014 election, the Greens were unable to capitalise on Labour infighting. The party's share of the vote dipped slightly (see below). NBR's observation was that while the party's proposed limits on foreign investors had popular appeal, they were a harder sell when spoken by someone with an Australian accent.
Prime Minister John Key mined similar territory telling media, "Maybe [Norman] is taking responsibility for the election because I don't think those guys performed that well."
On Twitter, NBR mused that Greens transport spokeswoman Julie Anne Genter would be the logical pick to replace Norman. Genter responded "Thanks, but that's not how it works." The party's constitution calls for one male co-leader and one female co-leader, and Metiria Turei has the female position locked up.
The Greens' recent electoral record
2014: 10.70% of the vote (14 MPs)
2011: 11.06% (14 MPs)
2008: 6.72% (9 MPs)
2005: 5.13% (6 MPs)
2002: 7% (9 MPs)
Resignation speculation as Greens call short-notice press conference for 11am
EARLIER: The Green Party has called a short-notice press conference for 11am.
Green MPs are "in a cone of silence on pain of death", by one account, on the topic of the mystery presser.
If a member of caucus is resigning, Marama Davidson is next on the Greens' list.
NBR Politics Editor Rob Hosking will cover events as they unfold.