Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand

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Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand
Rōpū Kākāriki o Aotearoa
General Secretary Gwen Shaw[1]
Leader James Shaw
Founded 1990; 27 years ago (1990)
Preceded by Values Party
Headquarters 17 Garrett St,
Te Aro, Wellington
Youth wing Young Greens
Ideology Green politics
Political position Left-wing[2][3]
Regional affiliation Asia Pacific Greens Federation[4]
International affiliation Global Greens[5]
Colours      Green
Slogan Love New Zealand[6]
MPs in the House of Representatives
7 / 120

The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand (Māori: Rōpū Kākāriki o Aotearoa) is a left-wing political party in New Zealand.[2][3] Like many Green parties around the world it has four organisational pillars: ecology, social responsibility, grassroots democracy, and nonviolence.[7][8] It is the third largest political party in the House of Representatives (with 14 seats), and is a member of the Global Greens.[5]

James Shaw is the Party's male co-leader. The position of female co-leader is vacant following the resignation of Metiria Turei on 9 August 2017.[9] Turei had been elected at the 2009 annual general meeting after former female co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons left the party in February 2009.[10][11] Shaw was elected at the Party's 2015 annual general meeting over fellow MPs Gareth Hughes and Kevin Hague, and Party member Vernon Tava. Following the death of Rod Donald in November 2005, the male co-leader position remained vacant until the 2006 AGM, at which Russel Norman was elected to the position.

In the 2014 general election, the Green Party's share of the party vote fell slightly, to 10.70% (from 11.06% in 2011). In 2008, the party received a 6.72% share of the vote.

In addition, the Party contests Auckland Council elections under the City Vision banner together with the Labour Party and the Alliance. The Green Party contests local government elections throughout New Zealand. In the 2013 local elections, Greens won three city council and two regional council seats in Wellington, a council seat in Dunedin, and also enjoyed success in Christchurch and Gisborne.

Principles and policies

The Greens place particular emphasis on environmental issues. In recent times, they have expressed concerns about mining of national parks,[12] fresh water,[13] climate change,[14] peak oil[15] and the release of genetically engineered organisms.[16] They have also spoken out in support of human rights[17] and against military operations conducted by the United States and other countries in Afghanistan and Iraq.[18]

In its economic policies, the 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.[19]

The Party has said that if it forms a government in the 2017 election, it will legalise cannabis.[20] The Party would also "remove penalties for any person with a terminal illness, chronic or debilitating condition to cultivate, possess or use cannabis and/or cannabis products for therapeutic purposes, with the support of a registered medical practitioner".[21]



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



Former Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons

The Green Party traces its origins to the Values Party,[22] the world's first national-level environmentalist party.[23][24] The Values Party originated in 1972 at Victoria University of Wellington.[22][25] While it gained a measure of public support in several elections, the then first-past-the-post electoral system meant that the party did not 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 at the outset of the 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.[22] The Greens contested the 1993 and 1996 elections as part of the Alliance.

Until the 1995 annual conference in Taupō, 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 mixed-member proportional (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.[22] 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.[26] 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.[27] 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][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.[28][29] 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,[30][31] 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.[32] 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,[33] Nándor Tánczos took up the vacant list position.[34] 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.[35]

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.[36]

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 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.[37] They became 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% 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.[38] They remained the third largest parliamentary party in New Zealand.[39]

2014 election

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.

2017 election

The Green Party announced their final list of candidates for the 2017 election on 30 May 2017, with a number of lower listed members becoming one of the top 14–15 members most likely to enter parliament after the election.[40]

On 16 July, the Green Co-leader Metiria Turei admitted to benefit fraud over a period of three years during the 1990s. Turei justified her actions on the grounds that she and her young daughter depended on the Domestic Purposes Benefit. Turei also advocated raising the domestic purposes benefit for families during the Green Party's electoral campaign. Her disclosure generated considerable interest from the media, politicians, and the New Zealand blogosphere.[41][42][43][44][45][46] On 7 August, two Green MPs Kennedy Graham and party whip David Clendon resigned as Green Party candidates due to their disagreement with Turei's actions and handling of the situation. They formally resigned from the Green Party's parliamentary caucus the following day after the Party made moves to remove them "involuntarily."[47][48]

On 9 August, Turei resigned as Co-leader and as a List MP; stating that the media scrutiny on her family had become unbearable. Co-leader James Shaw will remain the Green Party's sole leader for the 2017 election.[49][9] Clendon has stated that he would not be returning to the Green Party list despite Turei's resignation. On 12 August, the Green Party Executive declined Graham's application to return to the Party list following Turei's explanation. Leader James Shaw indicated that there was considerable animosity within the Party towards Clendon and Graham for their actions.[50][51]

On 17 August, it was reported that the Green Party had fallen by 11 points to 4 percent in the 1 News–Colmar Brunton Poll. This could mean that the Party would fall short of the five percent threshold needed to enter Parliament under New Zealand's Mixed Member Proportional system. The Party's sharp drop in the opinion poll was attributed to negative publicity around the Green Party's infighting and the ascension of Jacinda Ardern as leader of the center-left Labour Party, the Greens' nominal ally.[52][53] By contrast, the Roy Morgan opinion poll placed public support for the Green Party at 9 percent.[54]

Electoral results


House of Representatives
Election year # of
overall votes
 % of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
+/– Government
1990 124,915 6.9 (#3)
0 / 97
Steady in opposition
Part of the Alliance
1999 106,560 5.2 (#5)
7 / 120
Increase 7 supporting government
2002[28] 142,250 7.0 (#5)
9 / 120
Increase 2 in opposition
2005 120,521 5.3 (#4)
6 / 121
Decrease 3 supporting government
2008 157,613 6.7 (#3)
9 / 122
Increase 3 in opposition
2011 247,372 11.1 (#3)[55]
14 / 121
Increase 5 in opposition
2014 257,356 [56] 10.70 (#3)
14 / 121
Steady in opposition

Office holders

Male co-leaders

Male co-leader James Shaw

Female co-leaders

Metiria Turei, female co-leader, 2009–2017

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.

  • 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)

Female co-convenors

  • 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 (2015–2017)
  • Katy Watabe (2017–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)
  • Julian Lumbreras (2017–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.

The MPs are, in order of their list ranking:

Spokesperson Term in office Portfolio
Metiria Turei * 2002–present * Inequality
Building and Housing
Electoral Issues
James Shaw 2014–present Male Co-leader
Economic Development
Climate Change
Eugenie Sage 2011–present Environment
Primary Industries
Land Information
Canterbury Earthquake Recovery
Earthquake Commission
Gareth Hughes 2010–present Energy and Resources
Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment
Science and Innovation
Wellington Issues
Catherine Delahunty 2008–present Education
Te Tiriti o Waitangi
Kennedy Graham ** 2008–present ** Global Affairs (inc. Defence, Disarmament, Customs)
Veterans Affairs
National Intelligence and Security (inc. NZSIS, GCSB)
Julie Anne Genter 2011–present Health (inc ACC)
Auckland Issues
Sport and Recreation
Mojo Mathers 2011–present Commerce and Consumer Affairs (inc. Regulatory Reform)
Disability Issues
Animal Welfare
Jan Logie 2011–present Social Development (inc. Women, Community and Voluntary Sector)
State Services
Local Government (inc Civil Defence)
Rainbow Issues
David Clendon ** 2009–present ** Musterer (Party Whip)
Small Business
Criminal Justice (inc. Courts, Corrections, Police)
Denise Roche 2011–present Workplace Relations and Safety
Ethnic Affairs
Steffan Browning 2011–present Organics
Food Safety
Marama Davidson 2015–present Māori Development
Social Housing
Human Rights
Pacific Peoples
Barry Coates 2016–present Trade
Internal Affairs (inc. Statistics, Arts Culture & Heritage, Ministerial Services, Racing, Gambling)
Senior Citizens
Commerce and Consumer Affairs
* Former Female Co-Leader, resigned 9 August 2017[9]
** On 8 August 2017, both David Clendon and Kennedy Graham resigned from the Party caucus,[47] after there were moves to remove them involuntarily.[58] They will be remaining on as Green Party MPs for the remainder of the current parliamentary term.[47]

Past Members of Parliament

1.^ Stayed with the Alliance when the Greens left.

See also


  1. ^ "Green Party contacts". Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. Retrieved 5 February 2017. 
  2. ^ a b Turner, T. New Zealand 2016. T Turner. p. 16. 
  3. ^ a b Mazzoleni, Juliet Roper; Christina Holtz-Bacha; Gianpietro (2004). The politics of representation : election campaigning and proportional representation. New York, NY [u.a.]: Lang. p. 40. ISBN 9780820461489. 
  4. ^ "Green Parties". Asia Pacific Greens. 6 September 2014. Retrieved 13 June 2017. 
  5. ^ a b "Member Parties". Global Greens. 14 October 2007. Retrieved 4 February 2017. 
  6. ^ Kirk, Stacey (13 August 2017). "Greens relaunch with new slogan, avoiding a painful irony". Retrieved 13 August 2017. 
  7. ^ Kitschelt, Herbert P. (1 January 1985). "Review of The Global Promise of Green Politics". Theory and Society. pp. 525–533. 
  8. ^ "The Green Charter". Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. Retrieved 4 February 2017. 
  9. ^ a b c "Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei resigns". Radio New Zealand. 9 August 2017. Retrieved 12 August 2017. 
  10. ^ "Fitzsimons to Pass Co-leadership Torch in June". Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. Archived from the original on 28 July 2012. Retrieved 5 October 2012. 
  11. ^ "Turei picked as new Greens co-leader". TVNZ. 2009. Retrieved 5 October 2012. 
  12. ^ "NZ Greens Conservation Mining". Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. Retrieved 31 January 2011. 
  13. ^ "Campaigns: Water". Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. Retrieved 31 January 2011. 
  14. ^ "NZ Greens: Campaigns: Climate Change". Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. Retrieved 29 June 2008. 
  15. ^ "NZ Greens: Campaigns: Peak Oil". Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. Retrieved 29 June 2008. 
  16. ^ "NZ Greens: Campaigns: Genetic Engineering". Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. Retrieved 29 June 2008. 
  17. ^ "NZ Greens: Campaigns: Human Rights". Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. Retrieved 29 June 2008. 
  18. ^ "NZ Greens: Campaigns: JustPeace". Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. Retrieved 29 June 2008. 
  19. ^ "Greens Call For Dinosaur GDP To Go". Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. 27 March 2000. Retrieved 29 June 2008. 
  20. ^ "Legal cannabis in NZ? Green Party offers green light to pot smokers". Stuff. Stuff NZ. Retrieved 2017-09-01. Under [the party's] proposal, people would be able to legally grow and possess marijuana for personal use. 
  21. ^ "Drug Law Reform Policy". Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. 2016-04-12. Retrieved 2017-09-01. 
  22. ^ 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 29 June 2008. 
  23. ^ "History | Green Party of Canada". The first national green party in the world, the Values Party, was started in the early 1970s in New Zealand. 
  24. ^ Barry, John; Frankland, E. Gene (2014). International Encyclopedia of Environmental Politics. Routledge. p. 461. ISBN 9781135553968. 
  25. ^ O'Brien, Tova (1 June 2012). "Forty years since first green party". Newshub. Retrieved 5 February 2017. 
  26. ^ "The History of The Green Party". Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. Retrieved 28 August 2015. 
  27. ^ "Green Budget Package far reaching". Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. 15 June 2000. Retrieved 29 June 2008. 
  28. ^ a b "Official Count Results – Overall Status". Electoral Commission. Retrieved 7 August 2013. 
  29. ^ "Official Count Results – Coromandel". Electoral Commission. Retrieved 7 August 2013. 
  30. ^ "Greens talk about coalition options". NZCity,. 12 September 2005. Retrieved 28 June 2008. 
  31. ^ "Interview: Jeanette Fitzsimons, Green Party co-leader". New Zealand Herald. 6 August 2005. Retrieved 28 June 2008. 
  32. ^ "Labour led Government Co-operation Agreement with the Green Party" (PDF). 17 October 2005. Retrieved 28 June 2008. 
  33. ^ "Greens co-leader dies". New Zealand Herald. 6 November 2006. Retrieved 28 June 2008. 
  34. ^ "New list MP for Green Party". New Zealand Electoral Commission. 14 November 2005. Retrieved 28 June 2008. 
  35. ^ "Green Co-Leader announced". Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. 3 June 2006. Retrieved 28 June 2008. 
  36. ^ "Anti-smacking bill becomes law". NZPA. 16 May 2007. Retrieved 16 May 2007. 
  37. ^ "Special votes see Greens gain seat, Nats lose". New Zealand Herald. 22 November 2008. Retrieved 22 November 2008. 
  38. ^ "First deaf MP to join Parliament". New Zealand Herald. 10 December 2011. Retrieved 10 December 2011. 
  39. ^ "Official Count". Stuff. 26 November 2011. Retrieved 26 November 2011. 
  40. ^ "Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand List 2017". Green Party of Aoteraroa New Zealand. Retrieved 12 August 2017. 
  41. ^ Kirk, Stacey (16 July 2017). "Benefit raise, tax cuts for poorest and hikes for wealthy in new Greens policy". Retrieved 26 July 2017. 
  42. ^ "'We can never condone breaking the rules' - Andrew Little won't support Metiria Turei's stance of not condemning benefit fraudsters". 1 News. 26 July 2017. Retrieved 26 July 2017. 
  43. ^ Soper, Barry (25 July 2017). "Metiria Turei vs Barry Soper: Listen to heated debate". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 26 July 2017. 
  44. ^ Gower, Patrick (26 July 2017). "Patrick Gower: Metiria Turei's political fraud is ripping off the New Zealand public". Newshub. Retrieved 26 July 2017. 
  45. ^ Trotter, Chris. "Sins Of Admission – critiquing John Armstrong’s attack on Metiria". The Daily Blog. Retrieved 26 July 2017. 
  46. ^ Bradbury, Martyn. "The importance of what Metiria has done and why we should all support her". The Daily Blog. Retrieved 26 July 2017. 
  47. ^ a b c "Rogue Green MPs withdraw from caucus - party 'united' behind co-leader Metiria Turei". 8 August 2017. Retrieved 8 August 2017. 
  48. ^ "Joint Statement David Clendon and Kennedy Graham". Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. 8 August 2017. Retrieved 13 August 2017 – via 
  49. ^ Davison, Isaac (9 August 2017). "Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei resigns". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 9 August 2017. 
  50. ^ "David Clendon not planning return to Green Party list". TVNZ. 10 August 2017. Retrieved 12 August 2017. 
  51. ^ "Kennedy Graham denied Green candidacy". Radio New Zealand. 12 August 2017. Retrieved 12 August 2017. 
  52. ^ Small, Vernon (17 August 2017). "Green Party out of Parliament, Labour surges in new poll". Retrieved 19 August 2017. 
  53. ^ "Greens could be out of Parliament, poll reveals". Newshub. 17 August 2017. Retrieved 19 August 2017. 
  54. ^ Keall, Chris (19 August 2017). "Roy Morgan poll better news for Greens". National Business Review. Retrieved 19 August 2017. 
  55. ^ New Zealand Electoral Commission (17 December 2011). "Official Count Results – Overall Status". Retrieved 21 April 2016. 
  56. ^ "Election Results – Overall Status". New Zealand Electoral Commission. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  57. ^ "James Shaw named Greens new co-leader". The New Zealand Herald. 30 May 2015. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  58. ^ Patterson, Jane; McCulloch, Craig (8 August 2017). "Green Party in chaos after two MPs rebel". Radio New Zealand. Retrieved 8 August 2017. 

External links

  • Official website
  • Facebook page
  • Green MP blog site
  • Twitter
  • YouTube channel
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