Russel Norman takes up Greenpeace's top job
By 3 News online staff
Changes are afoot in the Green Party with former co-leader Russel Norman leaving Parliament to become the executive director of Greenpeace, opening the door for Auckland candidate Marama Davidson to become the party's newest MP.
The transition will take place at the end of October when Dr Norman ends his political career.
In an announcement this morning, the Green Party congratulated both Dr Norman and Ms Davidson.
"There are few words that could express how grateful we are to Russel for his incredible contribution to the Green Party," co-leader Metiria Turei says.
"He was a constant thorn in the Government's side, and a passionate voice for the environment, the disadvantaged, and those who want a smarter greener economy."
Dr Norman announced he was stepping down as co-leader effective from the party's AGM in May, and a four-way run off had James Shaw take over the role.
Mr Shaw says Dr Norman was transformative for the party, helping create a "formidable political machine" and his leadership and intellect was regarded across Parliament.
Greenpeace's outgoing executive director Bunny McDiarmid, who will step down later this year, has backed the appointment.
"Some will be surprised to hear that a guy more accustomed to sitting inside Parliament is joining an organisation that's more used to climbing it - but I firmly believe Russel is the right man for the job," she says.
Dr Norman cites the organisation's political and financial independence, non-violent direct action and "creative confrontation" as things that attracted him to the role.
"It is these values that I believe form the basis of being able to bring about change, and create a better, cleaner, more peaceful world."
The former co-leader leaving Parliament has left a space for Ms Davidson, who just missed the cut as an MP following last year's election.
She will enter Parliament in November.
Based in Auckland, Ms Davidson had a 10- year career at the Human Rights Commission and recently worked part-time as the chief panellist for the Glenn Inquiry into Domestic Violence and Child Abuse.
Ms Turei says the party is "incredibly excited" about Ms Davidson's entrance into Parliament as a "modern, progressive voice for Maori political aspiration".