Green MP Marama Davidson takes an overwhelming endorsement from party members into her new job as the female co-leader.

The South Auckland-based lawmaker took 110 of the 144 valid votes cast by delegates representing members. Her opponent, Julie Anne Genter, a minister outside cabinet, received just 34.

The party announced the result today at the Pioneer Women's Hall in central Auckland.

Marama Davidson was announced today as the winner of the Green Party election for female co-leader role.
Marama Davidson was announced today as the winner of the Green Party election for female co-leader role.

"It's the greatest honour of my life to be elected co-leader of the Green Party of Aotearoa," said Davidson who, before entering Parliament in 2015, had worked at the Human Rights Commission for 10 years and on the Glenn inquiry into domestic violence and child abuse.

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She was considered the frontrunner throughout the co-leadership race to fill the position held by Metiria Turei until Turei resigned before last year's general election.

Of Maori ancestry and from the more activist wing of the party, Davidson styled herself as the natural heir to Turei.

Davidson made a virtue of her not being a minister in the Greens' governing arrangement with the Labour-New Zealand coalition.

"History shows that smaller parties struggle to retain their support in coalition governments. My number one goal as co-leader is to make sure that doesn't happen to the Greens," she said.

"Without ministerial responsibilities I can focus on the party and ensure the full delivery of our confidence and supply agreement while maintaining unity.

"With one leader as a minister and one not we can … avoid the pitfalls other parties entering government have experienced who have seen their support fall."

During her campaign for the co-leadership she had pledged to maintain regular, transparent communication with the party membership. This didn't mean there would always be agreement. It was to create space where members felt they were participating in the controversial issues facing the caucus.

Greens co-leader James Shaw (right), sitting next to Julie Anne Genter, the unsuccessful candidate for the party's female co-leader role. Photo / Michael Craig
Greens co-leader James Shaw (right), sitting next to Julie Anne Genter, the unsuccessful candidate for the party's female co-leader role. Photo / Michael Craig

Party co-leader James Shaw also said it was an advantage - in the first term in a governing arrangement - to have a non-minister as co-leader to focus on communication with members.

"The risk is we don't take supporters with us."

He said Davidson's campaign had energised and inspired the party's grassroots. "You lit a wildfire in the party," Shaw told Davidson.

Genter, the Minister for Women and Associate Minister of Health and of Transport, was portrayed during the co-leadership election campaign as being - like Shaw - a representative the urban liberal segment of the party. However, Genter argued this categorised her too narrowly, pointing to her activism in peace, environmental and other issues.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern congratulated Davidson on her election and said she looked forward to working with her "to build a stronger, fairer and more inclusive country".