Greens aim to make New Zealand fairer, cleaner and healthier

Simon Wood, the International Campaign Manager for the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand, urges New Zealanders to vote for the Greens ahead of the country’s general election. After winning 6.3 per cent share of the vote at the last election, which won them eight seats in parliament, the Green Party is aiming to win 10 seats at this October’s election.   

Marama Davidson and James Shaw waving to a crowd
Marama Davidson

Marama Davidson and James Shaw

Simon Wood

New Zealand citizens will vote in a general election on 17 October and the Green Party is aiming to be part of a coalition government for the first time.

New Zealand has been led by the Labour Party for the last three years, with the Green Party in support as a confidence and supply partner with ministerial responsibilities. This election, we are confident we will have a seat at the cabinet table and more influence on government decision-making.

Unlike the UK, New Zealand has proportional representation. Voters choose a local constituent MP but the make-up of parliament is determined by who people vote for with their party vote. Parties must secure at least five per cent of this vote, or win an electorate, to have seats in the house.

In the last election, the Greens won 6.3 per cent of the party vote, which was enough for eight MPs in the 120-seat parliament. This election, we are hoping to win 10 seats or more, which should be enough to leave us as Labour’s only viable coalition partner.

We’ve already had success in the last three years as a support partner. We’ve begun planning for 100 per cent renewable energy by 2035 and have ensured that all new legislation and building resource consents will have to include a climate impact analysis. 

We banned new offshore oil and gas exploration, contributing to our transition to a carbon-free economy and protecting New Zealand’s precious marine habitats. This has been supplemented by the largest increase in funding for our conservation department in decades.

We significantly increased support networks and funding for family violence survivors including paid leave and financial support for victims. We have raised core benefits by $25 per week and significantly increased support for mental health, especially for young people. Just this month we helped make life easier for renters by removing no-cause evictions and limiting rent increases.

These are the first steps to a fairer society but we want to do a lot more. We want the government to commit to eliminating fossil fuel use by 2030. We want to drastically increase our welfare safety net to ensure all New Zealanders have the support they need, funded by a one per cent wealth tax. And we want to legislate so landlords must take more responsibility for the welfare of their tenants by ensuring properties are safe and warm.

The Green Party is not in a position to govern alone, but the New Zealand political system means that coalitions and compromises are almost an inevitability after an election. From 2008 to 2017, New Zealand was governed by the conservative National party. This period was damaging, with little progress made on climate justice or social welfare. Many New Zealanders continued to live in poverty, which is inexcusable for a country with our means and resources.

Over the last three years our prime minister and leader of the Labour Party, Jacinda Adern, has become internationally famous by exhibiting empathy and kindness rather than the bombast of many current world leaders. This is a tentative step in the right direction, but we want to push Labour to go further faster to provide support to all New Zealanders, our environment and climate. 

The Green Party offers an experienced, evidence-driven alternative to provide a real influence and voice in our next government. Our election campaign this year is all about asking people to give us their vote so we can be the progressive heart and conscience of the next New Zealand government. We have really talented candidates, with representation from all areas of New Zealand society and our party, including many outstanding Māori, Pasifika, female and rainbow/LGBTQIA+ candidates.

The Greens are also the only New Zealand political party with a dedicated international volunteer team. We traditionally do well amongst New Zealanders living overseas, with around 12-25 per cent of New Zealanders abroad voting for us. This has been enough to help us win an extra MP in the last four elections, so it is a vital part of our campaign outreach. In 2020, with the world facing so much uncertainty, we aren’t able to organise any events in big cities, but we are trying to replicate this with digital conversations. 

New Zealanders living overseas can visit the New Zealand Overseas website for up-to-date information on how to vote from abroad from 30 September to 17 October. They can also join our Facebook community.

If you’re not a New Zealander, then you can help by reminding your Kiwi friends to vote or sharing our social media posts widely. Together we can make Aotearoa New Zealand a fairer, cleaner, healthier society!