Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand

Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand
Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand
Rōpū Kākāriki
Leader Metiria Turei, Russel Norman
Founded 1990
Headquarters PO Box 11-652, Wellington
Ideology Green politics, Environmentalism
International affiliation Global Greens, Asia-Pacific Green Network
Official colors Green
MPs in the House of Representatives
9 / 122

The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand (in Māori: Rōpū Kākāriki o Aotearoa), often simply called The Green Party, is a political party in the New Zealand parliament. 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 by party delegates from electorates around the country.

The Green Party contests Auckland City Council elections under the City Vision banner, in concert with the NZ 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,[1] fresh water,[2] climate change,[3] peak oil[4] and the release of genetically engineered organisms.[5] They have also spoken out in support of human rights,[6] and against the military operations conducted by the United States of America and other countries in Afghanistan and Iraq.[7]

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.[8]


The following forms the English-language section of the charter (the founding document) of The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand:[9]

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.



Former Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons

The Green Party traces its origins to the Values Party,[10] considered the world's first national-level environmentalist party. The Values Party originated in 1972 at Victoria University of Wellington.[10] 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.[10] 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.[10] 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

Former Green Party co-leader Rod Donald.

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.[citation needed] 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.[11] 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.[citation needed]

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. 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,[12][13] they were excluded from the resulting coalition, due to a refusal by United Future and NZ First to work with the Greens in cabinet.[citation needed] They were however able to negotiate a cooperation agreement which saw limited input into the budget and broad consultation on policy.[14] 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.

Current co-leader Dr Russel Norman

After Donald's death the day before Parliament was due to sit,[15] Nandor Tanczos took up the vacant list position.[16] 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.[17]

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.[18] They are now the third largest parliamentary party in New Zealand.

Electoral results (1990-2008)

Election # of candidates nominated (electorate/list) # of seats won # of party votes  % of popular vote
71 / 0
1993 - 1996
Part of the Alliance
50 / 54
57 / 65
52 / 57
60 / 67
59 / 61

Public perception

The Child Discipline Act (introduced by Green's member Sue Bradford) to outlaw the legal defence of "reasonable force" when disciplining children, led to widespread debate and accusations that MPs supporting the bill were fostering a 'nanny state' approach. The Bill became law after it passed its third reading on 16 May 2007 with only seven MPs voting against it.[19] This had little effect on the Green Party who increased their number of seats from six to nine in the 2008 general election.

Office holders

Male co-leaders

Female co-leaders

Current co-leader Metiria Turei

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 to date)

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 – present)

Female Policy Co-Convenors

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

Current Members of Parliament

Former Green MP Sue Bradford

Past Members of Parliament

See also


  1. ^ "NZ Greens Conservation Mining". Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. Retrieved 2011-01-31. 
  2. ^ "Campaigns: Water". Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. Retrieved 2011-1-31. 
  3. ^ "NZ Greens: Campaigns: Climate Change". Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. Retrieved 2008-06-29. 
  4. ^ "NZ Greens: Campaigns: Peak Oil". Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. Retrieved 2008-06-29. 
  5. ^ "NZ Greens: Campaigns: Genetic Engineering". Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. Retrieved 2008-06-29. 
  6. ^ "NZ Greens: Campaigns: Human Rights". Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. Retrieved 2008-06-29. 
  7. ^ "NZ Greens: Campaigns: JustPeace". Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. Retrieved 2008-06-29. 
  8. ^ "Greens Call For Dinosaur GDP To Go". Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. 2000-03-27. Retrieved 2008-06-29. 
  9. ^ "The Green Charter". Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. Retrieved 2008-06-07. 
  10. ^ a b c d Christine Dann. "Greens in Time and Space: The History of The Green Party 1972-1999". Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. Retrieved 2008-06-29. 
  11. ^ "Green Budget Package far reaching". Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. 2000-06-15. Retrieved 2008-06-29. 
  12. ^ "Greens talk about coalition options". NZCity,. 2005-09-12. Retrieved 2008-06-28. 
  13. ^ "Interview: Jeanette Fitzsimons, Green Party co-leader". New Zealand Herald. 2005-08-06. Retrieved 2008-06-28. 
  14. ^ "Labour led Government Co-operation Agreement with the Green Party". 2005-10-17. Retrieved 2008-06-28. 
  15. ^ "Greens co-leader dies". New Zealand Herald. 2006-11-06. Retrieved 2008-06-28. 
  16. ^ "New list MP for Green Party". New Zealand Electoral Commission. 2005-11-14. Retrieved 2008-06-28. 
  17. ^ "Green Co-Leader announced". Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. 2006-06-03. Retrieved 2008-06-28. 
  18. ^ "Special votes see Greens gain seat, Nats lose". New Zealand Herald. 22 November 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-22. 
  19. ^ "Anti-smacking bill becomes law". NZPA. 2007-05-16. Retrieved 2007-05-16. 

External links

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