Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand
The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand (Māori: Rōpū Kākāriki o Aotearoa, Niu Tireni) is a green, left-wing political party in New Zealand. Like many green parties around the world it has four organisational pillars: ecology, social responsibility, grassroots democracy, and nonviolence.
|General Secretary||Gwen Shaw|
|Founded||26 May 1990|
|Preceded by||Values Party|
|Headquarters||17 Garrett St, |
Te Aro, Wellington
|Youth wing||Young Greens of Aotearoa New Zealand|
|Regional affiliation||Asia Pacific Greens Federation|
|International affiliation||Global Greens|
|MPs in the House of Representatives|
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The party's ideology combines environmentalism with left-wing, social democratic economic policies, including well-funded, locally controlled public services within the confines of a steady-state economy. Internationally, it is affiliated to the Global Greens.
It is the fourth largest political party in the House of Representatives, and has agreed to support the Sixth Labour Government. In the 2017 general election, the Green Party secured 6.3% of the party vote and returned eight MPs. This was down from 10.7% and 14 seats in the 2014 general election.
The Green Party contests local government elections throughout New Zealand. In 2019, Aaron Hawkins was elected mayor of Dunedin. In Auckland it campaigns with the Labour Party under the City Vision banner.
Principles and policiesEdit
The Green Party was founded to counter what it sees as the threats to the natural environment and environmental issues remain its main focus. In recent times, it has expressed concerns about mining of national parks, fresh water, climate change, peak oil and the release of genetically engineered organisms. The party also spoken out in support of human rights and against military operations conducted by the United States and other countries in Afghanistan and Iraq.
In its economic policies, the Green Party stresses factors such as sustainability, taxing the indirect costs of pollution, and fair trade. It also states that measuring economic success should concentrate on measuring well-being rather than analysing economic indicators. The party wants the eventual introduction of a universal basic income.
The party said that if it formed a government in the 2017 election, it would legalise cannabis. It would also "remove penalties for any person with a terminal illness, chronic or debilitating condition to cultivate, possess or use cannabis and/or cannabis products for therapeutic purposes, with the support of a registered medical practitioner".
The Green Party traces its origins to the Values Party, the world's first national-level environmentalist party. The Values Party originated in 1972 at Victoria University of Wellington. While it gained a measure of public support in several elections, the then first-past-the-post electoral system meant that the party did not win any seats in the House of Representatives. Some of the founding members of the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand, notably Jeanette Fitzsimons, Rod Donald and Mike Ward, had been active members of the Values Party at the outset of the Green movement in the 1970s.
In May 1990, remnants of the Values Party merged with a number of other environmentalist organizations to form the modern Green Party. This sparked a resurgence of support, with the new group winning 6.85% of the vote (but no seats) in the 1990 election.
The Alliance yearsEdit
The following year, the Greens became co-founder members of the Alliance, a five-party grouping that also consisted of the Democrats, Liberals, Mana Motuhake and NewLabour Party. The Greens contested the 1993 and 1996 elections as part of the Alliance.
Until the 1995 annual conference in Taupo, the Greens had no elected leaders. At that conference, Fitzsimons was elected unopposed as female co-leader, and Donald defeated Joel Cayford and Mike Smith in a three-way contest to become male co-leader.
With the adoption of the mixed-member proportional (MMP) electoral system in 1996, the Alliance gained entry to Parliament, bringing three Green MPs with them: Fitzsimons, Donald and Phillida Bunkle.
In 1997, feeling that membership of the Alliance had subsumed their identity, the Greens took the decision to stand candidates independently of the Alliance at the next election. While most of the Green party members left the Alliance, some decided instead to leave the Green Party and stay in the Alliance (including MP Phillida Bunkle). Conversely, some of the Alliance party members who joined the Alliance via other parties decided to leave the Alliance and join the Green Party, notably Sue Bradford and Keith Locke, who both joined the Alliance via NewLabour.
Green Party in ParliamentEdit
In the 1999 election, the Greens gained 5.16% of the vote and seven seats in Parliament. Fitzsimons also won the electorate seat of Coromandel, believed to be a world-first in a first-past-the-post election. However, the final result only became clear after the counting of special votes, so the Greens had a 10-day wait before officials could confirm their election to Parliament. During this time, Labour concluded a coalition agreement with the Alliance which excluded the Greens. However, the party supported the government on confidence and supply in return for some input into the budget and legislation. This led to the Greens gaining a $15 million energy efficiency and environmental package in the new government's first budget. Over the term, the Greens developed a good working relationship with the government and also had some input into policy, notably Sue Bradford's amendments to the ERC legislation.[clarification needed]
In the 2002 election, the Greens polled 7.00%, increasing their strength in Parliament to nine seats, although they lost the Coromandel electorate. The electoral campaign featured strong tensions between the Greens and Labour. The Greens sharply criticised Labour for its plans to allow a moratorium on genetic engineering to expire, and believing that Labour would require their support to form a government, intended to make the extension of this moratorium a non-negotiable part of any deal. After the election, however, Labour and their coalition partner, the Jim Anderton-led Progressive Coalition, opted to rely on support from United Future, a party with conservative Christian overtones, shutting the Greens out of power.
Although the Greens no longer had any input into the budget, they maintained a close working relationship with the government, and the Greens remained involved in the legislation process. Often the government needed to rely on Green votes in the House to pass legislation not approved by United Future, a conservative family-values party. The government won praise from political commentators for juggling the two diametrically-opposed parties.
While the moratorium on genetic modification has now expired, the Greens remain heavily involved in attempts to prevent any GM releases under the new regulatory framework, and genetic engineering remains a major topic for the party.
In the 2005 election, the Greens won 5.30%, returning six of their MPs to Parliament. Despite expressing clear support for a Labour-led government during the campaign, they were excluded from the resulting coalition, due to a refusal by United Future and NZ First to work with the Greens in cabinet. They were however able to negotiate a cooperation agreement which saw limited input into the budget and broad consultation on policy. Both co-leaders were appointed as government spokespeople outside cabinet, with Fitzsimons responsible for Energy Efficiency, and Donald responsible for the Buy Kiwi Made campaign.
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After Donald's death the day before Parliament was due to sit, Nándor Tánczos took up the vacant list position. The position of government spokesperson on Buy Kiwi Made was filled by Sue Bradford. The co-leader position remained vacant until a new co-leader, Russel Norman was elected at their 2006 annual general meeting. The other contenders for the position were Nándor Tánczos, David Clendon and former MP Mike Ward.
Child Discipline ActEdit
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The Child Discipline Act was introduced by Green Party member Sue Bradford. It sought to outlaw the legal defence of "reasonable force" for parents prosecuted for assault against children, and was drawn from the ballot in 2005. It led to widespread debate and accusations that MPs supporting the bill were fostering a 'nanny state' approach. Despite this, the Bill became law after it passed its third reading on 16 May 2007 with an overwhelming majority of 113 votes for and 7 votes against.
In the 2008 election the Greens increased their share of the vote to 6.72%, enough for 9 MPs, even though there was a swing throughout the country to the National Party. This initially gave the Greens two extra MPs, but counting the special votes brought in a third. They became the third largest parliamentary party in New Zealand, and signed a memorandum of understanding with the governing National Party.
In the 2011 election, the Green Party received nearly a quarter of a million party votes (247,372), equating to 11.06% of the total valid party votes nationwide, earning them 14 seats in the 50th Parliament. Preliminary results on election night showed them with 10.6% of the vote, equivalent to 13 seats, but special votes increased their support enough to gain an extra seat. They remained the third largest parliamentary party in New Zealand.
In the 2014 general election, the Green Party's share of the party vote fell slightly to 10.70%. Despite this, they retained all of their 14 seats and remained the third largest party in Parliament.
James Shaw was elected at the party's 2015 annual general meeting over fellow MPs Gareth Hughes and Kevin Hague, and party member Vernon Tava. He succeeds Russel Norman, who resigned in November 2015 to work as Executive Director of Greenpeace Aotearoa New Zealand.
The Green Party announced their final list of candidates for the 2017 election on 30 May 2017, with a number of lower listed members becoming one of the top 14–15 members most likely to enter parliament after the election. During the party's campaign launch on 9 July, the Green Party proposed charging bottling companies a ten percent tax for exporting water with the resulting revenue being split between local councils and Māori tribes or iwi. In addition, the Greens announced that they would ban new resource consents for bottling companies until the establishment of a new comprehensive commercial water pricing scheme.
In July 2017, the Green Party Co-Leader Metiria Turei criticised the populist New Zealand First party and its leader Winston Peters for alleged racism, particularly towards immigration. List MP Barry Coates also penned an article in the left-wing "The Daily Blog" claiming that the Greens would call a snap election rather than be excluded from a prospective Labour and New Zealand First coalition government. Turei and Coates' comments were fiercely criticised by both Peters and Deputy Leader Tracey Martin, who warned that this would affect post-election negotiations between the two parties. Fellow Co-Leader Shaw later clarified that Coates' remarks did not represent Green Party policy.
On 16 July, in order to raise awareness of the inadequacies of the welfare system, Turei disclosed that she had committed benefit fraud in the past. Turei also advocated raising the domestic purposes benefit for families during the Green Party's electoral campaign. Her disclosure generated considerable interest from the media, politicians, and the New Zealand blogosphere. On 7 August, Green MPs Kennedy Graham and party whip David Clendon resigned as Green Party candidates due to their disagreement with Turei's actions and handling of the situation. They formally resigned from the Green Party's parliamentary caucus the following day after the Party made moves to remove them "involuntarily."
On 9 August, Turei resigned as Co-leader and as a List MP, stating that the media scrutiny on her family had become unbearable. Co-leader James Shaw remained the Green Party's sole leader for the 2017 election. Clendon stated that he would not be returning to the Green Party list despite Turei's resignation. On 12 August, the Green Party Executive declined Graham's application to return to the Party list following Turei's explanation. Leader James Shaw indicated that there was considerable animosity within the Party towards Clendon and Graham for their actions.
On 17 August, it was reported that the Green Party had fallen by 11 points to 4 percent in the 1 News–Colmar Brunton Poll, below the five percent threshold needed to enter Parliament under New Zealand's mixed-member proportional system. The party's sharp drop in the opinion poll was attributed to negative publicity around the Green Party's infighting and the ascension of Jacinda Ardern as leader of the center-left Labour Party, the Greens' nominal ally. By contrast, the Roy Morgan opinion poll placed public support for the Green Party at 9 percent.
The 2017 general election returned eight Members of Parliament, with 6.3% of the party vote. The Green parliamentary caucus' newest members were Chlöe Swarbrick, who is currently the youngest member of the House, and Golriz Ghahraman, the first refugee member of the House.
Following the election results, Party Leader Shaw stated that the Greens would not be seeking a coalition with the National Party. He added that the Party was pursuing a coalition rather than a support agreement with the Labour and socially-conservative New Zealand First parties. On 9 October, the Greens leader Shaw took part in negotiations with the Labour Party. During the coalition–forming negotiations, NZ First leader Peters turned down Shaw's invitation for the two parties to negotiate directly on the grounds that the Greens and Labour had campaigned together under a memorandum of understanding during the 2017 election.
The Green Party in GovernmentEdit
In October 2017, the Greens entered a confidence and supply arrangement with the Labour Party which gave them three ministers outside cabinet and one under secretary role. This marked the first time the Greens have been in government. Party leader James Shaw was appointed Minister for Climate Change and Statistics and Associate Minister of Finance. Julie Anne Genter was made Minister for Women and Associate Minister of Health and Transport. Eugenie Sage was made Minister of Conservation and Land Information and Associate Minister for the Environment. Jan Logie was appointed Parliamentary Undersecretary to the Minister of Justice with a focus on domestic and sexual violence issues.
As a support partner of the Labour-New Zealand First coalition government, the Greens secured several policies and concessions including a proposed Zero Carbon Act, a referendum on legalising personal cannabis use by 2020, establishing a proposed Climate Commission, a proposed Green Transport Card to reduce public transportation costs, investing in rail and cycle infrastructure, light rail construction to Auckland Airport, increasing the Department of Conservation's funding, eliminating "excessive" benefit sanctions and the gender pay gap, a rent-to-own-scheme as part of KiwiBuild, and re-establishing the Mental Health Commission.
In late August 2020, Co-Leader Shaw was criticised by members of the Green Party, the opposition National Party, school principals and teachers unions for allocating NZ$11.7 million from the Government's $3 billion COVID-19 "shovel-ready" recovery fund to the private "Green School New Zealand" in Taranaki. This funding boost contradicted the party's own policy of opposing giving government funds to private schools. Shaw had lobbied for the inclusion of the school in the "shovel-ready" fund, claiming that it would have boosted the local economy and created jobs. Former Green MPs Catherine Delahunty, Mojo Mathers and Sue Bradford denounced Shaw's decision as a betrayal of the Green Party's policies and principles. Shaw subsequently apologised to Green MPs during a Zoom call, describing his action as an "error of judgment."
Local body electionsEdit
2013 local electionsEdit
2016 local body electionsEdit
During the 2016 local elections, Green Dunedin candidate Aaron Hawkins was re-elected to the Dunedin City Council and was joined by the Green Party's first elected Pasifika representative, Councillor Marie Laufiso. During the 2016 Wellington local election, four Green candidates Sue Kedgley, Iona Pannett, Sarah Free, and David Lee were elected onto the Greater Wellington Regional Council and the Lambton, Eastern, and Southern Wards of the Wellington City Council. Several Green candidates also contested seats on the Auckland Council, local boards, and licensing trusts during the 2016 Auckland local body elections.
2019 local body electionsEdit
The Executive is the party's administrative body, responsible for the day to day overall administration of the party, instructed by and answerable to the membership, provinces and Conference.
Provinces and branchesEdit
A province is a collection of branches which has sufficient sense of common identity defined by natural geographical boundaries. Branches are a collection of members with an electorate-based geographical area of responsibility.
There are a number of identity or interest-based networks across the party. These include:
- Green Women
- Inclusive Greens (a network for members living with a disability)
- Pasifika Greens (a network for members with Pacific Island ancestry)
- Rainbow Greens (a network for LGBTQIA+ members)
- Green Left (a network for left-wing members)
- Te Roopu Pounamu (Māori network)
- Union Greens
- Young Greens
|Election||Party votes||Total percent||Place||Seats won||Government|
0 / 97
7 / 120
|Confidence and supply|
9 / 120
6 / 121
|Confidence and supply|
9 / 122
14 / 121
14 / 121
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|Confidence and supply|
|Male co-leader||Female co-leader|
|No.||Name||Portrait||Term of Office||No.||Name||Portrait||Term of Office|
|1||Rod Donald||21 May 1995||6 November 2005||1||Jeanette Fitzsimons||21 May 1995||30 May 2009|
|2||Russel Norman||3 June 2006||30 May 2015|
|2||Metiria Turei||30 May 2009||9 August 2017|
|3||James Shaw||30 May 2015||present|
|3||Marama Davidson||8 April 2018||present|
Equivalent to the organisational president of other parties. The Green Party constitution bars co-convenors from standing for parliament. There is always one male co-convenor and one female co-convenor.
- Chris Thomas (1990–1992)
- Harry Parke (1992–1994)
- Rex Verity (1994–1997)
- Joel Cayford (1997–1998)
- Ian Stephens (1998–2000)
- Richard Davies (2000–2001)
- David Clendon (2001–2004)
- Paul de Spa (2004–2006)
- Roland Sapsford (2006–2012)
- Pete Huggins (2012–2014)
- John Ranta (2014–2018)
- Wiremu Winitana (2018–present)
- Meg Collins (1990–1992)
- Dianna Mellor (1992–1994)
- Danna Glendining (1994–1997)
- Leah McBey (1997–1998)
- Christine Dann (1998–2000)
- Catherine Delahunty (2002–2004)
- Karen Davis (2004–2007)
- Moea Armstrong (2007–2010)
- Georgina Morrison (2010–2015)
- Debs Martin (2015–2017)
- Katy Watabe (2017–2019)
- Penny Leach (2019–Present)
Male Policy Co-ConvenorsEdit
The Policy Co-Convenors are the leaders of the Policy Committee, which is autonomous from both the caucus and the party executive. While lower in profile than the party Co-Convenors, the policy co-convenors are considered to have the same status as the party co-convenors, and are elected in the same way. There is always one male policy co-convenor and one female policy co-convenor.
- Matthew Grant (2001–2004)
- Bill Brislen (2004–2005)
- Ivan Sowry (2005–2009)
- Richard Leckinger (2009–2013)
- Paul Bailey (2013–2016)
- Barry Coates (2016)
- Julian Lumbreras (2017–2018)
- Jack McDonald (2018–2019)
- Leighton Thompson (2019–2020)
- Lawrence Xu-Nan (2020–present)
Female Policy Co-ConvenorsEdit
- Karen Davis (2001–2004)
- Nancy Higgins (2004–2007)
- Caroline Glass (2007–2012)
- Jeanette Elley (2012–2014)
- Wendy Harper (2014–2016)
- Caroline Glass (2016–present)
Current members of parliamentEdit
The Green Party won 8 seats in the 2017 general election.
The MPs are, in order of their 2017 election list ranking:
|Rank||Name||Term in office||Portfolios & Responsibilities|
|3||Julie Anne Genter||2011–present||
Past Members of ParliamentEdit
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