Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand

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Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand is a left anarchist/socialist New Zealand political party.

Early history

In May 1990 the current Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand was formed from the Values Party and the new Green groups, and contested the 1990 general election six months later, winning 7% of the total vote or nearly 9% in those seats where it stood candidates.

According to Steven Rainbow however, the party was formed in November 1989 in Wainuiomata. [1]

1990 - March 24-25, a meeting took place in Kaiteriteri near Nelson, 50 people, representing both themselves and 12 other Green political groupings in New Zealand, met to discuss "Green Politics - Strategies for 1990 and Beyond". The coalition elected 4 spokespeople "and will utilise the services of the Wellington based Green Alternative to provide network co-ordination and a central contact point. A key point about the Greens - the structure is very flexible and relies very heavily on networking. The Greens will gather again on August 3-5 at a joint conference with the Green Party of Aotearoa to be held in Auckland."[2]

1990 - Office in building next to CND and "Fringe Ballet". Media co-ordinator Alan Hallett (resigned after election). PR advice handled by Brian Edwards & wife Judy Callingham.

The Greens became foundation members of the four-party Alliance Party of New Zealand (Greens, New Labour Party, Democrat and Mana Motuhake) in 1992, linking with other parties that also wanted electoral reform and opposed the New Right direction of both National and Labour. The Liberals joined later, making it a five-party Alliance.

In 1992 Jeanette Fitzsimons was elected Deputy Leader of the Alliance and when the Greens decided to elect leaders in 1995, she was elected alongside Rod Donald. (The Party had previously had four speakers.)

The Greens contributed to Alliance policy development, by championing environmentally-sustainable economic development and helped the Alliance contest the 1993 and 1996 general elections. It was in 1996 that the first Green MPs - Jeanette Fitzsimons, Rod Donald, and Phillida Bunkle - took their seats in Parliament. By then there were also more than 20 Green representatives at local government level, including Dunedin Mayor Sukhi Turner.

In November 1997 the Green Party left the Alliance and stood a separate list in the 1999 election. The Green Co-Leaders honoured their pledge to remain members of the Alliance caucus until the House rose to begin campaigning in 1999, while Phillida Bunkle chose to leave the Greens and stay with the Alliance.

In 1998 the Greens began developing separate policy from the Alliance, and policy themes for the election campaign were safe food, nature conservation and strong communities. A two-goal strategy was also agreed. The first goal was for Jeanette Fitzsimons to win the seat of Coromandel. The second goal was to win more than 5% of the party vote, the threshold for representation in Parliament. In the event that the Party failed to reach 5%, a Green victory in Coromandel would at least ensure that there were some Greens in Parliament.

The 1999 election campaign started with nothing - no campaign chest, no staff, no material resources, and with the Greens polling at less than 1%. Its main resources were the Green Co-Leaders, MPs Rod Donald and Jeanette Fitzsimons, who worked enormously hard to raise the Green profile. Genetic engineering proved a good publicity platform with major news breaks on secret GE trials in NZ. The Green petition for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into GE gathered 93,000 signatures.

The Greens were further helped by National setting the election date as late as possible and with its intemperate attacks on Green candidates Jeanette Fitzsimons, Sue Bradford and Nandor Tanczos. The attacks raised the Party profile more effectively than the limited paid publicity the Greens could afford, and attracted late enrolments from young people and other previous non-voters.

Yet by the middle of 1999 the Greens had just started to consistently poll over 1% and were still way short of the necessary 5%. This made media coverage difficult. By the end of October 1999, however, the tide began to turn. Polls showed Fitzsimons could take Coromandel, and 5% was within sight.

On election night, November 27, neither goal was reached. An agonising ten-day wait followed, while special votes were counted. These votes tipped the balance and Fitzsimons won Coromandel (the first Green in the world to win a constituency seat in a-first-past-the-post race).

The Party vote finalised at 5.2%, and seven Green MPs (Jeanette Fitzsimons, Rod Donald, Ian Ewen-Street, Sue Bradford, Sue Kedgley, Nandor Tanczos and Keith Locke) took their seats in the new parliament.[3]

Divvying up the seats

1992 June, Greenweb reported on candidate selection process for the Alliance Party for the '93 election: "In the next general election, the 22 "most winnable" seats have been divided up between candidates from the five parties in these proportions. The New Labour Party is guaranteed seven "most winnable" seats The Greens also get seven seats. The Democrats get three seats Mana Motuhake get two seats The Liberals get two seats. Plus one undecided "floater" seat.

"Dark Green" principles

1992 June, Dennis Frank wrote article in Greenweb on (Dark) Green Economic Principles.: "That the right of social equity be the natural right of all people, and that the social responsibility of government is to provide the people with sufficient personal security to ensure the continuance of life, health, food and shelter." "That taxation policy be designed to enable such provision to be made in the form of a basic income, by redistributing existing social resources. "That the privatisation of social resources be made illegal, but that the right to personal wealth and resources be given to all in the context of a common agreement as to what extent any individual may accumulate resources. "That economic systems be altered and improved until they become sustainable in perpetuity, by means of taxing any use of natural resources that is not sustainable."

"Urewera 17" connection

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References

  1. Rainbow on TV 9 Sept '90
  2. [June 1990 Peacelink]
  3. https://www.greens.org.nz/history-green-party#toc-the-1990s-and-the-first-green-party-campaign, Green party website, The History of The Green Party]