11 Aug 2017

Shaw calls for calm, defends media

5:37 am on 11 August 2017

Green Party leader James Shaw is advising his MPs to keep level heads as passions run high following the sudden resignation of Metiria Turei.

Metiria Turei and James Shaw, after the announcement Mrs Turei would resign as Greens co-leader.

Metiria Turei and James Shaw, after the announcement Mrs Turei would resign as Greens co-leader[thumbnail:48356:full] Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Mrs Turei quit as co-leader this week, citing the intense scrutiny on her family and the damage she was doing to the Greens' election chances after saying she committed benefit fraud in the early 1990s.

The party was in crisis talks for most of yesterday as they reassessed their campaign including everything from billboards to slogans to roadtrip routes.

Mr Shaw said it had been "a tough week" for the Green Party caucus.

"Passions are running high. I think people need to breathe through their noses and steady the ship and just get on with the campaign."

Some supporters have lashed out at media online, accusing reporters of hounding Mrs Turei out of Parliament.

But Mr Shaw said he had "absolutely no hard feelings" for the media.

"In my view, the media have just been doing their job. Some of the interviews have been really tough, but they should have been tough.

"People should just calm down and realise everyone's just doing their job."

Earlier in the week, MP Julie-Anne Genter criticised media coverage of the story as a "distraction".

The party's executive is also weighing the future of MP Kennedy Graham.

Earlier this week Dr Graham and fellow MP David Clendon pulled their support for Mrs Turei.

Mr Clendon said some colleagues were still bitter.

"Certainly it's painful at the moment. There is a lot of unease and some fairly raw feelings.

"We could equally be angry about some of what's been thrown at us in the last few days."

Dr Graham is applying to be put back on the party's list, after he and Mr Clendon asked to be taken off earlier in the week.

Mr Shaw had initially shot down the idea, saying and said Dr Graham had lost his fellow MPs' trust.

But he said it was ultimately up to the party's executive.

"The view of caucus would be that it would be tough for him to come back, but that is a decision for the executive," Mr Shaw said.

He expected it would be several days before a decision.

RNZ understands there have already been objections to Dr Graham's return from within the party's wider membership.

Mr Clendon said he had no desire to return and would be leaving Parliament at the election.

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