After nearly a decade in the role, Green Party co-leader James Shaw has announced his resignation from the position. 1News takes a look at his life and career so far, from an internal leadership challenge to a “banger of a night”.

Shaw grew up in Wellington’s Aro Valley, studying at Wellington High School and Victoria University before heading for a stint in London.

He lived in the UK from 1998 to 2010, working in management consulting and earning a Master’s in sustainable development and business leadership at Bath University.

In 2010, Shaw moved back home to run for Parliament in the 2011 general election but was unsuccessful.

His parliamentary career kicked off three years later, as Shaw earned a place as a list MP in the 2014 general election.

Just a year later in 2015, he became co-leader of the Green Party alongside Metiria Turei, replacing Russel Norman.

After three years in opposition, Shaw was promoted to Cabinet in the 2017 election as the Greens made it into Government for the first time.

As Labour’s Jacinda Ardern took over as Prime Minister, Shaw took up the roles of Minister for Climate Change and Minister for Statistics, as well as Associate Minister for Finance.

“His first term successes include the passing of the historic Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Act, reforming the Emissions Trading Scheme and establishing Green Investment Finance, a Crown-owned commercial fund to accelerate investment in the low-carbon economy,” the Green Party website outlines.

In 2018, Marama Davidson replaced Turei as the second co-leader.

After the 2020 election, Shaw was appointed Minister for Climate Change and Associate Minister for the Environment.

“On James’ watch, New Zealand’s total pollution into the atmosphere reduced in 2020 and 2021 and is projected to continue to decline for 2022,” the Green Party website’s profile of Shaw reads.

But members of the party faithful haven’t always viewed his leadership as a success.

Last year, party members voted to re-open nominations against Shaw at the party’s annual general meeting — meaning any member of the party could put their name forward as a potential challenger.

“James should be moving further and faster in regards to climate change in particular. We have a threshold that is coming at us rapidly and we need to be doing something about it,” party member Travis Mischewski said at the time.

But, of the 142 delegate votes received, 138 were for Shaw – who was the sole nominee.

Despite the evident dissent within the party membership, Shaw continued as one of two leaders into the 2023 general election.

Even though the Greens were voted out of Government and returned to opposition, Shaw called it “a banger of a night”.

“It’s a fantastic result and we’ve got, at the moment, as many Green MPs as we’ve ever had before,” Shaw said. “It’s a good result.”

He’s continued as party spokesperson for climate change, finance, public services and regulation, remaining the party’s leading voice on climate issues.

But now, Shaw’s announced an end to his time as co-leader.

Shaw said he will remain in Parliament “for the time being” to support the Bill of Rights (Right to a Sustainable Environment) Amendment Bill – but the search for his replacement as co-leader will begin almost immediately.

Nominations for the role will open tomorrow, the Green Party said, with a new co-leader expected to be announced on March 10.

When Shaw does leave Parliament, Lawrence Xu-Nan is next in line to join Parliament from the Green Party list.

Share.