New Zealanders are finally heading to the polls next month. And while the world watches to see if Jacinda Ardern is returned, we’ve got our sights set on the possibility of the NZ Green Party forming part of the government for the first time.
By the New Zealand Greens
On October 17, New Zealand will vote in a general election – 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 past 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 Australia, 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.
Last election, the Greens won 6.3% of the party vote, which was enough for eight MPs in the 120-seat parliament. This election we are hoping to win ten 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% renewable energy by 2035, and ensured 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 eliminate 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 1% 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 past three years, our prime minister and leader of the Labour party Jacinda Ardern 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% 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.
New Zealanders living overseas can visit https://www.greens.org.nz/overseas for up-to-date information on how to vote from abroad from September 20 to October 17. You can also join our Facebook community here.
If you’re not a New Zealander, you can help by reminding your Kiwi friends to vote or by sharing our social media posts widely. Together, we can make Aotearoa New Zealand a fairer, cleaner, healthier society!
Visit NZ Global Green pages: