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Green Party of New Zealand

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Green Party of New Zealand

Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand
Rōpū Kākāriki
Leader Metiria Turei, Russel Norman
Founded 1990
Preceded by Values Party [1]
Headquarters 17 Garrett St, Te Aro, Wellington [2]
Ideology Green politics, environmentalism
Political position Left-wing
International affiliation Global Greens, Asia-Pacific Green Network
Colours Green
MPs in the House of Representatives Template:Infobox political party/seats

The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand (in Māori: Rōpū Kākāriki o Aotearoa) is the third largest political party in the New Zealand parliament with 14 seats. It focuses firstly on environmentalism, arguing that all other aspects of humanity will cease to be of concern if there is no environment to sustain it. Ecological economics, progressive social policies, participatory democracy, and non-violence make up the balance of its platform.

The party is currently co-led by MP Metiria Turei and Russel Norman. The party has both a male and female co-leader. The male co-leader position was vacant following the November 2005 death of Rod Donald until the 2006 annual general meeting when 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.[3][4]

In the 2011 general election, the Green Party increased their share of the party vote to 11.06%, up from 6.72% in 2008. In addition, the Green Party contests Auckland Council elections under the City Vision banner, in concert with the Labour Party and the Alliance.


The Greens generally focus primarily on environmental issues. In recent times, they have expressed particular concerns about mining of national parks,[5] fresh water,[6] climate change,[7] peak oil[8] and the release of genetically engineered organisms.[9] They have also spoken out in support of human rights,[10] and against the military operations conducted by the United States of America and other countries in Afghanistan and Iraq.[11]

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.[12]


Template:Third-party The following forms the English-language section of the charter (the founding document) of The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand:[13]

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.



The Green Party traces its origins to the Values Party,[14] considered the world's first national-level environmentalist party. The Values Party originated in 1972 at Victoria University of Wellington.[14] 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 foundation 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 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.[14] 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 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.[14] 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

1999 election

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 system. 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.[15] 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.

2002 election

In the 2002 election, the Greens polled 7.00%, increasing their strength in parliament to nine seats, although they lost the Coromandel electorate.[16][17] 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.

2005 election

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,[18][19] 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.[20] 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.

After Donald's death the day before Parliament was due to sit,[21] Nandor Tanczos took up the vacant list position.[22] 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 Nandor Tanczos, David Clendon and former MP Mike Ward.[23]

Child Discipline Act

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.[24]

2008 election

In the 2008 election the Greens increased their share of the vote to 6.72%, enough for 9 MPs, even though there was a strong swing throughout the country to the centre-right National Party. This initially gave the Greens two extra MPs, but counting the special votes brought in a third.[25] They are now the third largest parliamentary party in New Zealand.

2011 election

In the 2011 election, the Green Party received nearly a quarter of a million party votes (247,372), equating to 11.06 percent 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.[26] They remain the third largest parliamentary party in New Zealand.[27]

Electoral results


House of Representatives
Election year # of
overall votes
 % of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
+/– Government
1990 124,915 6.9 (#3) Template:Infobox political party/seats in opposition
Part of the Alliance
1999 106,560 5.2 (#5) Template:Infobox political party/seats Increase 7 supporting government
2002[16] 142,250 7.0 (#5) Template:Infobox political party/seats Increase 2 in opposition
2005 120,521 5.3 (#4) Template:Infobox political party/seats Decrease 3 in opposition
2008 157,613 6.7 (#3) Template:Infobox political party/seats Increase 3 in opposition
2011 247,370 11.1 (#3)[28] Template:Infobox political party/seats Increase 5 in opposition

Office holders

Male co-leaders

Female co-leaders

Male co-convenors

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.

  • Ian Stephens (1996–1997)
  • Joel Cayford (1997–1998)
  • Richard Davies (2000–2001)
  • David Clendon (2001–2004)
  • Paul de Spa (2004–2006)
  • Roland Sapsford (2006–2012)
  • Pete Huggins (2012-present)

Female co-convenors

  • Danna Glendining (1996–1997)
  • Leah McBey (1997–1998)
  • Christine Dann (1998–2000)
  • Catherine Delahunty (2002–2004)
  • Karen Davis (2004–2007)
  • Moea Armstrong (2007–2010)
  • Georgina Morrison (2010 – 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 – present)

Female Policy Co-Convenors

  • Karen Davis (2001–2004)
  • Nancy Higgins (2004–2007)
  • Caroline Glass (2007–2012)
  • Jeanette Elley (2012 - present)

Current Members of Parliament

Final result for the 2011 election gave the Greens a 14 member-strong caucus in the House of Representatives, most of whom hold portfolios for speaking for the party. The MPs are, in order of their list ranking:

Spokesperson Term in office Portfolio
Metiria Turei 2002–present Co-leader
Social Equity
Electoral Reform
Māori and Treaty Issues
Russel Norman 2008–present Co-leader
Economics & Finance
Kevin Hague 2008–present Health and Wellbeing
Small Business
Biosecurity & Customs
Cycling & Active Transport
Sport & Recreation
Rainbow Issues (co-spokesperson)
Rural Affairs; associate spokesperson on Community Economic Development, Gambling, and Community & Voluntary Sector
Catherine Delahunty 2008–present Education
Mining (Terrestrial)
Te Tiriti o Waitangi
Kennedy Graham 2008–present Disarmament, Global Affairs, Climate Change, Trade & Foreign Investment, Constitutional Issues, Defence, Population
Eugenie Sage 2011–present Environment, Conservation, Water, Local Government, Christchurch, Land Information, Resource Management issues
Gareth Hughes 2010–present Energy, Oceans, Mining (oceans), ICT, Libraries & Archives
David Clendon 2009–present Small Business, Corrections and Courts, Tertiary Education, Research & Technology, Police, Commerce, Tourism
Jan Logie 2011–present Income Support, Immigration, Women, Pacific Island Affairs, Ethnic Affairs, Human Rights, Rainbow Issues (co-spokesperson), Overseas Development Aid
Steffan Browning 2011–present Agriculture, Fisheries, Organics, GE, Forestry, Biosecurity & Customs, Security & Intelligence
Denise Roche 2011–present Industrial Relations, Community & Voluntary sector, Community Economic Development, Waste, Gambling, Auckland, State Services
Holly Walker 2011–present Housing, Electoral Reform, Children, Open Government, Arts Culture & Heritage, Youth & Students
Julie Anne Genter 2011–present Transport, Justice, Broadcasting
Mojo Mathers 2011–present Food, Animal Welfare, Disability Issues, Consumer Affairs, Civil Defence, Natural Health

Past Members of Parliament

See also

New Zealand portal


External links

  • Official website
  • Green MP blog site
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