I was waiting in the foyer of a Beehive office this week when the North and South cover on the magazine rack caught my eye.

It was the very arresting May edition, with the Green Party co-leaders and three promising candidates posing "Vanity Fair"-style in glittery garb.

Some members were unhappy that the leaders had agreed to stoop to that kind of stylised American marketing technique.

It certainly did not look like the party that represented the interests of New Zealand's poorest and most vulnerable. But the cover itself and its new candidates got lots of publicity amid the controversy and it did the party no harm as it climbed in the polls.

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But the criticism over the magazine may have given Metiria Turei impetus to deliver the speech at the party conference in July to where she admitted dishonesty in claiming a social welfare benefit many years ago - a speech that would reinforce the party's core values to counter-balance the image of privilege.

The shift in the political landscape since Turei's decision makes it the most important speech since Don Brash's in Orewa.

The speech has a similar effect by propelling the party in the polls - before plummeting back to earth when Labour changed leaders. It has also changed the fortunes of New Zealand First and the Opportunities Party.

The Greens may have had their worst week in politics since Rod Donald died, but it could get even worse.

It is conceivable they might not even make it back to Parliament after September 23 if they fall below 5 per cent.

Their support halved according to UMR after the ascendancy of Jacinda Ardern as new Labour leader.

It is possible the party will recover some support now that Turei has resigned, but it may also suffer more because of the shows of disunity and ugly public attacks on the two MPs who stood accused of bringing the party into disrepute for resigning on principle (they had been asked by co-leader James Shaw to keep their principles on hold until after the election).

Those who have elevated Turei to martyrdom claim that Turei was forced to resign because of her actions 20 years ago which is patently untrue, or even more simplistically, that she was forced to resign for telling the truth. The mob didn't get her.

She need never have resigned at all if she had managed her confession properly. She could have explained it without turning any person who cheats the system today into a hero.

Illustration / Guy Body
Illustration / Guy Body

But everything has been mismanaged including her own resignation. She has resigned as co-leader and will leave politics but is still going to be a Green candidate in Te Tai Tonga.

The departure of the two moderate maverick MPs has been mismanaged. Kennedy Graham and David Clendon threatened to resign if she didn't; she didn't so they did, then she did anyway. The Greens are left with the worst of all worlds, with deep wounds, limping to election day.

The one silver lining for the Greens is that the suspicion the social justice wing of the party held about the business friendly co-leader James Shaw has diminished, so staunch has he been in support of Turei.

The party has done many things well this year including its party list selection and launch, and campaign preparation.

It was getting a lot of credit and was heading for a potentially spectacular result. It may well be heading for a spectacular result in the opposite direction.

New Zealand First has suffered collateral damage amidst the turmoil, firstly through being deprived of political oxygen and secondly by having its growing soft support hoovered up by Labour's Jacinda Ardern.

It doesn't alter the fact that Peters will probably still hold the balance of power after the election but without the numbers he was hoping for.

The revival of Labour's fortunes may make it more difficult for Peters to peel off support from National because a viable a Labour - New Zealand First alternative makes it less likely that National supporters will be tempted away by Peters.

It has also killed off the notion of leader Winston Peters being in power sharing arrangement with Labour - as he could credibly have done if Andrew Little had delivered enough numbers for a coalition but with an embarrassingly suppressed voted.

(His best chance now would perhaps be in such circumstance that, were a Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of a mind to, she decided she wanted a few month's parental leave).

The party other than Labour that may gain from the Greens' misfortune is Gareth Morgan's Opportunities Party.

He is polling close to where the Conservative Party was polling before the last election - around 2 or 3 per cent - and which eventually landed on 3.97 per cent at the election.

Anything but Conservative, Morgan's 2 or 3 per cent will give him appearance rights and exposure in television debates and the potential to build on the momentum he has largely generated himself.

Given that National's vote is largely unchanged, Morgan appears to be taking votes from the left.

Many of his policies from cannabis reform, climate change, conservation, and water are compatible with a left-green agenda.

Morgan may pick up some support from if the next few polls indicate that the formerly glamorous Greens are in a fight for sheer survival.