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Jeanette Fitzsimons

Jeanette Mary Fitzsimons CNZM (born 17 January 1945) is a New Zealand politician and environmentalist. She was the co-leader of the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand from 1995 to 2009, and was a Member of Parliament from 1996 to 2010.

Jeanette Fitzsimons

Jeanette Fitzsimons.jpg
1st Female co-leader of the Green Party
In office
Co-leading with Rod Donald, then Russel Norman
Succeeded byMetiria Turei
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Green Party List
In office
2002 – 11 February 2010
Succeeded byGareth Hughes
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Coromandel
In office
Preceded byMurray McLean
Succeeded bySandra Goudie
Majority250 (0.73%)
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Alliance List
In office
Personal details
Born (1945-01-17) 17 January 1945 (age 74)
New Zealand
NationalityNew Zealand
Political partyGreen Party
Values Party


Before being elected to Parliament, Fitzsimons was a lecturer in environmental studies at the University of Auckland. She was also highly active in various environmental organizations such as the New Zealand Biological Producers' Council, the Campaign Climate for Change (which she founded), and the Environmental Council. She also worked as an environmental consultant to many local authorities.

Political careerEdit

Fitzsimons' first entry into politics was as a candidate for the Values Party, an early environmentalist based political party. She was its energy spokesperson from 1977 to 1982, and stood as a candidate in the 1978 election and the 1981 election. When the Values Party merged with a number of other groups to form the modern Green Party, Fitzsimons became an active member of the new organization.

When the Green Party joined with several other left-wing parties to form the Alliance, Fitzsimons became co-deputy leader (with Sandra Lee holding the other deputy leader position). In the 1993 election, Fitzsimons unsuccessfully contested the Hauraki electorate under the Alliance banner. In 1995, she became co-leader of the Green Party (which remained within the Alliance).

Member of ParliamentEdit

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate List Party
1996–1999 45th List 3 Alliance
1999–2002 46th Coromandel 1 Green
2002–2005 47th List 1 Green
2005–2008 48th List 1 Green
2008–2010 49th List 1 Green

In the 1996 election, the first to be conducted under the new MMP electoral system, Fitzsimons was placed third on the Alliance party list. She also stood as the party's candidate in the Coromandel. She was unsuccessful in the Coromandel electorate, but entered Parliament on the Alliance list.

In 1998, Fitzsimons' Energy Efficiency Bill was drawn from the member's ballot. It was eventually passed into law as the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act 2000.[1][2]

The Greens contested the 1999 election as an independent party, with Fitzsimons and Rod Donald serving as co-leaders. Fitzsimons was placed first on the party's list, and once again contested the Coromandel seat. To observers, it seemed that the Greens' chances of entering parliament were dependent on Fitzsimons' performance in Coromandel; in order to receive proportional representation, the party needed to either gain five percent of the national vote or win an electorate seat, and it appeared that the former option was unlikely. Labour Leader (and Prime Minister after the election) Helen Clark openly encouraged Labour supporters to give their constituency vote to Fitzsimons[3] and their party vote to Labour.[4] When normal votes had been counted, it appeared that Fitzsimons had been defeated in Coromandel by National's Murray McLean, but when special votes were tallied, Fitzsimons had a narrow lead. This guaranteed the Green Party seats in parliament regardless of whether it crossed the five percent threshold (as it eventually did).

In her second term, Fitzsimons promoted bills to extend New Zealand's nuclear-free zone[5] and to reduce road traffic.[6] Both were defeated at their second readings.

In the 2002 election, Fitzsimons was defeated in Coromandel, placing third. The seat was won by National Party MP Sandra Goudie. Fitzsimons remained in Parliament as the highest-ranked candidate on the Green Party's list, and remained co-leader of the party until 2009, with probably the highest public profile of any Green MP. She became the spokeswoman for the Labour government's solar heating promotion initiatives following the 2005 election. This was agreed to as part of a policy package negotiated by the Green Party in exchange for its undertaking not to oppose the Labour-led Government on matters of confidence and supply until the next parliamentary elections.

In the 2005 term, Fitzsimons had three member's bills drawn, addressing climate change[7][8] and dog microchipping.[9] None passed, though her Resource Management (Climate Protection) Amendment Bill did make it to a second reading.[8]

Fitzsimons was a list only candidate in the 2008 election and was ranked at number one on the party list.

She was the Green Party spokesperson on Climate Change, Energy, Finance & Revenue, Genetic Engineering, Research, Science & Technology, Sustainable Economics, Transport, Treaty Issues (Associate).[10]

Colin James, of the NZ Herald, chose her as his New Zealand politician of the year in 2007.[11]

In October 2008, respondents to a ONE News Colmar Brunton poll regarded Fitzsimons as the most trustworthy political party leader in New Zealand.[12]

In February 2009, Fitzsimons announced that she would step down as party co-leader at the party's annual conference, and she was replaced by Metiria Turei on 30 May 2009. At the time, she intended to serve out the remainder of her term as a Member of Parliament.[13]

In June 2009, her Sustainable Biofuel Bill was drawn from the member's ballot.[14] The bill passed its first reading,[15] but was subsequently defeated at its second reading on 4 April 2012 by a vote of 69–51, with National, New Zealand First, ACT and United Future opposing it.[16][17]

Fitzsimons left Parliament on 11 February 2010, and was replaced by the next candidate on the Green Party list, Gareth Hughes.

In the 2010 Queen's Birthday Honours, Fitzsimons was appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for public services.[18]

Personal lifeEdit

Fitzsimons is married, and has two adult children. She and her husband manage an organic farm in the Kauaeranga Valley east of Thames at the base of the Coromandel Peninsula.


  1. ^ "First Green Bill, first challenge to climate change". Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. 10 May 2000. Archived from the original on 22 May 2010. Retrieved 10 December 2009.
  2. ^ "Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act 2000". Retrieved 10 December 2009.
  3. ^ Orsman, Bernard (28 October 1999). "Key electorate: Coromandel". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  4. ^ Left Turn: The New Zealand General Election of 1999. Victoria University Press. 2000. p. 237. ISBN 9780864734044.
  5. ^ "Nuclear Free Zone Extension Bill First Reading". Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. 5 July 2000. Archived from the original on 22 May 2010. Retrieved 10 December 2009.
  6. ^ "Green traffic reduction bill to go before Parliament". Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. 3 May 2001. Archived from the original on 25 May 2010. Retrieved 10 December 2009.
  7. ^ "Climate Change (Transport Funding) Bill". New Zealand Parliament. Retrieved 10 December 2009.
  8. ^ a b "Resource Management (Climate Protection) Amendment Bill". New Zealand Parliament. Retrieved 10 December 2009.
  9. ^ "Dog Control (Cancellation of Microchipping Requirements) Amendment Bill". New Zealand Parliament. Retrieved 10 December 2009.
  10. ^ "Jeanette Fitzsimons MP". Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. Retrieved 29 January 2010.
  11. ^ Colin James (18 December 2007). "My politician of the year – Greens' Steel Magnolia". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 10 December 2009.
  12. ^ "Peters upset with ONE News trust poll". ONE News. 8 October 2008. Archived from the original on 6 October 2012. Retrieved 10 December 2009.
  13. ^ "Fitzsimons to Pass Co-leadership Torch in June". Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. 23 February 2009. Archived from the original on 1 August 2012. Retrieved 10 December 2009.
  14. ^ "Sustainable Biofuel Bill". New Zealand Parliament. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  15. ^ New Zealand Parliamentary Debates 656 5260.
  16. ^ "Sustainable Biofuel Bill". New Zealand Parliament. Retrieved 29 January 2010.
  17. ^ "Biofuel bill goes down in Parliament". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 20 November 2017.
  18. ^ "Queen's Birthday honours list 2010". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 7 June 2010. Retrieved 10 October 2018.

External linksEdit

New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Murray McLean
Member of Parliament for Coromandel
Succeeded by
Sandra Goudie
Party political offices
New political party Female co-leader of the Green Party
Served alongside: Rod Donald, Russel Norman
Succeeded by
Metiria Turei