Green Party staff say they are being made to feel unwelcome by senior party figures who want to forge a new managerial elite.
SOME EIGHT YEARS ago, in November 2008, Bryce Edwards speculated whether the Green Party had lost its soul.
What sparked Edwards' lengthy article (still worth reading today) was the Green party's 2008 election campaign advertising. Edwards was scathing, describing the party's television and billboard advertising as "....one of the most vacuous we’ve seen in New Zealand politics, and a sign that in this year’s campaign the Greens have given up all pretence of being anything other than an empty electoral-professional party of office-seeking politicians."
Edwards was very much in a minority in his opinions, with the Green's advertising campaign praised by a swathe of journalists, bloggers and PR wallahs. As most of them are still pontificating today, its worth checking out Edwards list of 'culprits' - most of them probably won't come as any surprise.
Now that the Green Party are in government, with Green MPs now in positions of ministerial power, the push to fully transform the Green Party into a sleek election-focused machine is now threatening the jobs of Green Party staffers who may not be quite 'on board' with the corporate ethos of the modern Green Party under leader James Shaw.
A letter signed by Green Party staff and obtained by RNZ National has revealed that staff are feeling the heat from those more senior than them in the Green Party. There is push on to replace existing staff with people head hunted from outside the Green Party.
Some existing staff are feeling the chill wind of hostility, commenting in the letter that they have been left with the "distinct impression they were not valued" or that they had "defects" in their work.
They also suggest that Green MP's have been instrumental in blocking them from giving feedback on proposed staffing changes.
Of course, the Green Party could be risking a backlash against its MP's and an emerging managerial elite. Rather than being the grassroots based political party that it once claimed to be, the Green Party has become increasingly elitist, divorced from its membership.
It has become firmly embedded within the political establishment, from which it seeks to recruit new staff. It's too much to expect a sudden campaign to erupt from Green Party members declaring that they 'want their party back' but they may well be looking sideways at what's happening to its present staff.