Green Party reveals policy vision document

By Charlie Dreaver of RNZ

The Green Party has laid out a raft of priorities to take to the negotiating table, depending on the result of this year's election.

The party is holding its Annual General Meeting in Wellington today where it has released its "policy vision document."

Called Think Ahead, Act Now, it focuses on three main areas - healthy nature, fairer communities and a clean economy.

That includes animal welfare reforms such as the establishment of an animal welfare minister and the phasing out of factory farming, animal rodeos and greyhound racing.

It also plans to further expand the progressive home ownership scheme, which had its first phase of funding announced yesterday.

The poverty action plan already announced last month, was included in the document, but there were no new major policy announcements.

The party is planning to announce more meaty election policy in the coming weeks.

In her speech, Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson said Aotearoa was currently at a crossroads and returning to the status quo was not an option.

"Covid-19 has affected all of us, but it has not done so equally, we know that those with the least, are suffering the most," she said.

"Future generations will judge us by the decisions we make today."

Co-leader James Shaw spoke of the environmental progress that has been made in the current term of government, but noted more needed to be done.

"We know that justice, environmental justice and social justice are inextricable intertwined, and none of these can be achieved without the others," he said.

Working with New Zealand First

The Green Party has made its preference clear to form a Labour-Greens Government post-election.

But James Shaw said the party could not say it would not work with NZ First.

"The constellation that forms the next government is really up to the voters to decide, now I think they will look at our track record, they'll look at New Zealand First's track record and they will be able to draw their own conclusions about what a strong and stable government looks like," he said.

When asked if New Zealand First acted as a hand back this term, Shaw said they had been more of a "millstone."

But he said all of the achievements that had been made, have been the result of all three parties consenting.

"There have been things that we haven't got over the line and there have been frustrations, but ultimately all of the achievements that we have had have been a result of that three party government," he said.

Policies in the policy document include:

Healthy Nature

  • Ban set netting and phase out the most destructive forms of commercial fishing
  • Accelerate the roll-out of monitoring cameras on commercial fishing boats.
  • Facilitate discussions to progress and create the Kermadec Rangitahua Ocean Sanctuary.
  • The establishment of an animal welfare minister and the phasing out of factory farming, animal rodeos and greyhound racing.
  • Fix kerbside plastic recycling to be more consistent throughout Aotearoa and phase out low-grade plastic products.

Fairer Communities

  • Simplify Working for Families tax credits into a single "Family Support Credit" of $190 a week for the first child and $120 for each younger child.
  • Ensure a Guaranteed Minimum Income of $325 per week for students and people out of work, no matter what.
  • Lowering the voting age to 16 and extending voting rights to all people in prison.
  • Roll out Te Reo Māori as a core curriculum subject through to Year 10.
  • Increase early childhood funding and prioritise pay equity for early childhood education teachers.
  • Investigate a levy on sugary drinks to fund affordable dental care.
  • Create an Office for Rainbow Communities, tasked with developing and implementing a plan to improve LGBTQIA rights.

Clean Economy

  • Extend country-of-origin labelling to all food products.
  • Phase-out the most environmentally degrading agricultural inputs, such as synthetic fertilisers and harmful pesticides and support farmers to transition to organic agriculture.
  • Make it 50 percent cheaper for everyone to upgrade to solar and batteries for their own homes, with government finance.
  • Create thousands of jobs in green energy.