Hon. James Shaw is Co-leader of the Green Party, a position he’s held since 2015. He is a former Minister of Climate Change, from 2017-2023, during which time he was responsible for guiding the landmark Zero Carbon Act through Parliament.

As Co-leader during the 2017 General Election, James took the Greens into Government for the first time ever. At the 2023 General Election, the Green Party won fifteen seats, its best result ever, including a record three electorate seats, making the Greens the only support party in the history of our MMP voting system to have increased its support during its time in Government.

First Green Government

James was appointed Minister for Climate Change, Statistics and Associate Minister for Finance in the Ardern Government in 2017. 

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. 

In his second term, James was appointed Minister for Climate Change and Associate Minister for the Environment (Biodiversity) and launched a suite of measures to protect our native biodiversity.

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.

Political background

James grew up in Wellington's Aro Valley and attended Wellington High School and Victoria University, before moving to London, where he lived from 1998 to 2010, to begin a career in management consulting. 

While in the UK he completed a Master’s in sustainable development and business leadership at Bath University. He moved back to New Zealand to run for Parliament in 2010 and was elected in 2014, becoming Green Party Co-leader in 2015.


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