Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand
|General Secretary||Gwen Shaw|
|Preceded by||Values Party|
|Headquarters||17 Garrett St,
Te Aro, Wellington
|Regional affiliation||Asia Pacific Greens Federation|
|International affiliation||Global Greens|
|MPs in the House of Representatives||
14 / 121
The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand (Māori: Rōpū Kākāriki o Aotearoa) is a left-wing political party in New Zealand. Like many Green parties around the world it has four pillars: ecology, social responsibility, grassroots democracy and nonviolence. It is a member of the Global Greens.
The party has both a male and female co-leader, currently Metiria Turei and James Shaw. The male co-leader position was vacant following the November 2005 death of Rod Donald until the 2006 annual general meeting when Russel Norman was elected using the alternative vote system. Following former female co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons's decision to step down in February 2009, Turei was elected at the 2009 annual general meeting. Shaw was elected at the Party's 2015 AGM over fellow MPs Gareth Hughes and Kevin Hague, and Party member Vernon Tava.
In the 2014 general election, the Green Party's share of the party vote fell slightly to 10.70% from 11.06% in 2011, after rising from 6.72% in 2008. It is the third largest political party in the House of Representatives with 14 seats.
In addition, the Green Party contests Auckland Council elections under the City Vision banner, in concert with the Labour Party and the Alliance. The Party contests local government elections throughout New Zealand and in the 2013 local elections won three city council and two regional council seats in Wellington, a council seat in Dunedin, and also had successes in Christchurch and Gisborne.
- 1 Principles and policies
- 2 Charter
- 3 Structure
- 4 History
- 5 Electoral results
- 6 Office holders
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Principles and policies
The Greens place particular emphasis on environmental issues. In recent times, they have expressed concerns about mining of national parks, fresh water, climate change, peak oil and the release of genetically engineered organisms. They have also spoken out in support of human rights, and against the 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 has said that if it forms a government in the 2017 election it will legalise cannabis. 'Under its proposal, people would be able to legally grow and possess marijuana for personal use'. The party would also 'urgently amend the law so sick people using medicinal marijuana were not penalised'.
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The following forms the English-language section of the charter (the founding document) of The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand:
- The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand accepts Te Tiriti o Waitangi as the founding document of Aotearoa New Zealand; recognises Māori as tāngata whenua in Aotearoa New Zealand; and commits to the following four Principles:
- Ecological wisdom:
- The basis of ecological wisdom is that human beings are part of the natural world. This world is finite, therefore unlimited material growth is impossible. Ecological sustainability is paramount.
- Social responsibility:
- Unlimited material growth is impossible. Therefore the key to social responsibility is the just distribution of social and natural resources, both locally and globally.
- Appropriate decision-making:
- For the implementation of ecological wisdom and social responsibility, decisions will be made directly at the appropriate level by those affected.
- Non-violent conflict resolution is the process by which ecological wisdom, social responsibility and appropriate decision making will be implemented. This principle applies at all levels.
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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.
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:
- Business & Professional
- Green Women
- Inclusive Greens (a network for members living with a disability)
- Pasifika Greens (a network for members with Pacific Island ancestry)
- Rainbow Greens
- Spirit Greens
- Green Left (a network for left-wing members)
- Te Roopu Pounamu (Māori network)
- Union Greens
- Vegetarian and Vegan Greens
- Young Greens
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 it failed to win any seats in parliament. 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 during the spawning of the New Zealand and international 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 years
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.
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 (notably 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 Parliament
In the 1999 election, the Greens gained 5.16% of the vote and seven seats in Parliament. Jeanette 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 Act
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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.
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 new 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.
|House of Representatives|
|Election year||# of
| % of
overall seats won
0 / 97
7 / 120
9 / 120
6 / 121
9 / 122
14 / 121
|2014||257,356 ||10.70 (#3)||
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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–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–present)
Male Policy Co-Convenors
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–present)
Female Policy Co-Convenors
- 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 Parliament
Final result for the 2014 election gave the Greens a 14 member-strong caucus in the House of Representatives, all of whom hold portfolios for the party. David Clendon's role of "musterer" is the equivalent of party whip. The MPs are, in order of their list ranking:
|Spokesperson||Term in office||Portfolio|
Building and Housing
Canterbury Earthquake Recovery
|Gareth Hughes||2010–present||Energy and Resources
Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment
Science and Innovation
Te Tiriti o Waitangi
|Kennedy Graham||2008–present||Global Affairs (inc. Defence, Disarmament, Customs)
National Intelligence and Security (inc. NZSIS, GCSB)
|Julie Anne Genter||2011–present||Health (inc ACC)
Sport and Recreation
|Mojo Mathers||2011–present||Commerce and Consumer Affairs (inc. Regulatory Reform)
|Jan Logie||2011–present||Social Development (inc. Women, Community and Voluntary Sector)
Local Government (inc Civil Defence)
|David Clendon||2009–present||Musterer (Party Whip)
Criminal Justice (inc. Courts, Corrections, Police)
|Denise Roche||2011–present||Workplace Relations and Safety
|Marama Davidson||2015–present||Māori Development
Internal Affairs (inc. Statistics, Arts Culture & Heritage, Ministerial Services, Racing, Gambling)
Commerce and Consumer Affairs
Past Members of Parliament
- Jeanette Fitzsimons (1996–2010)
- Rod Donald (1996–2005)
- Phillida Bunkle (1996–1997, stayed with the Alliance when the Greens left)
- Sue Kedgley (1999–2011)
- Keith Locke (1999–2011)
- Sue Bradford (1999–2009)
- Nándor Tánczos (1999–2008)
- Ian Ewen-Street (1999–2005)
- Mike Ward (2002–2005)
- Russel Norman (2008–2015)
- Kevin Hague (2008–2016)
- Holly Walker (2011–2014)
- Greens Party's Caucus and Greens MPs' responsibilities in the 51st New Zealand Parliament
- Politics of New Zealand
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Last updated 9 December 2016.
Retrieved 13 December 2016.
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The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand (official website).
Retrieved 13 December 2016.
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- "History | Green Party of Canada". www.greenparty.ca.
The first national green party in the world, the Values Party, was started in the early 1970s in New Zealand.
- Barry, John; Frankland, E. Gene (2014). International Encyclopedia of Environmental Politics. Routledge. p. 461. ISBN 9781135553968.
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