Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand

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Current Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand logo

The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand is a political party in the New Zealand parliament. It focuses primarily on environmentalism, working on the basis that other aspects do not matter if no environment survives, but left-wing economics, progressive social policies, and non-violence also feature prominently in its platform. The party strives to use consensus decision-making.

The party has two co-leaders: Jeanette Fitzsimons and Rod Donald.

Contents

Policies

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The Greens generally focus primarily on environmental issues. In recent times, they have expressed particular concerns about genetic engineering, which they strongly oppose using. They have also spoken out against the military operations conducted by the United States of America and other countries in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In its economic policies, the Green Party stresses factors such as sustainability and "fair trade". It also states that measuring economic success should concentrate on measuring well-being rather than analysing economic indicators.

Charter

The following forms the English-language section of the charter (the founding document) of The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand.

The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand accepts Te Tiriti o Waitangi as the founding document of Aotearoa New Zealand; recognises Maori as Tangata 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-Violence:
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.

History

Foundations

The Green Party often traces its origins to the Values Party, sometimes considered the world's first national-level environmentalist party. The Values Party originated in 1972 at Victoria University of Wellington. While it gained a measure of public support, it failed to win any seats in parliament: the then electoral system made it difficult for smaller parties to gain representation, and because of this problem, the Values Party gradually declined in support.

Formation

In 1990, however, 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 7% of the vote in the 1990 election (although it still gained no seats).

The Alliance Years

The following year, the Greens became co-founder members of the Alliance, a group of left-wing parties that gathered together around Jim Anderton's NewLabour Party. The Greens contested the 1993 and 1996 elections as part of the Alliance. With the adoption of the MMP electoral system, the Alliance gained entry to parliament - the Alliance MPs elected in 1996 included three members of the Green Party - Jeanette Fitzsimons, Rod 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. 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

In the 1999 election, the Greens gained seven seats in parliament, after surpassing 5% of the vote, ensuring that the MMP electoral system would grant the party seats in parliament. The party's co-leader, Jeanette Fitzsimons, also won the electorate seat of Coromandel, believed to be a world-first in a first-past-the-post national electorate seat. Both these achievements only occurred after the counting of special votes, so the Greens had a 10-day wait before officials could confirm their election to Parliament. Perhaps because of this, the centre-left government established by Labour and the Alliance did not invite the Greens to join it, but gained Green Party support on some issues in return for some input into the government budget. The Greens developed a good working relationship with the government and also had some input into government legislation, notably Sue Bradford's amendments to the ERC legislation.

In the 2002 election, the Greens managed to increase 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 strong 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 has 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.


External links

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