Obviously as a Green candidate I have a strong loyalty for my own party, but I do follow the media and I do have an insider's advantage of knowing how my party operates. The Green Party has never been so strong and we have spent the last few years preparing ourselves to be fit to govern.
Here are ten reasons, in no particular order, why Party Voting Green is a wise choice:
1) Strong and Stable Leadership. The combined thirteen years of leadership experience (Russel eight, Metiria five) has meant that the Greens have rarely been embarrassed by the the sort of gaffes over policy and discipline that many other parties have suffered. Our leaders have come away from debates and interviews with high praise from the media. Even Mike Hosking praises Russel Norman for his statesman like presence and Metiria impresses with her sharp mind and good humour. The Greens have the most detailed and properly costed policies of any party and our leadership have rarely faltered in promoting it.
2) Capable Candidates. Our current fourteen MPs have performed solidly over the last three years and have shown to be a disciplined team. The fact that many people can name more Green MPs than Labour or National is proof of their effectiveness. Whether it be the asset sales, child poverty, ACC failures, animal welfare, economics, problem gambling, climate change or transport, Green MPs have been at the forefront of the debates. We have a very rigorous candidate selection process and the party expects a high level of discipline and adherence to our principles. All 60 of our candidates have impressive CVs.
3) Fiscally Responsible. We have very detailed and fully costed policies that are practical and achievable. No other Party has had its policies independently scrutinized to the extent of the Green Party. We will not spend money unless we have generated the revenue first and will have larger surpluses and pay down debt well before National would.
4) Economic Vision. The Greens have the most progressive and future focused economic policies. A reliance on primary commodities such as milk powder and logs leave us vulnerable to the fluctuations of those markets. Unless we invest and support research and development and value added industries we will continue to have a low wage economy and lack the resilience that a diverse and sophisticated economy will provide. The industries with the strongest growth are in green technology and we would be foolish not to aim to be a leader in the global green markets. Rather than a high tax, high spend approach we have a moderate but smart plan for generating income by focusing on incentives and investments to grow the economy across a broad range of sectors.
6) Rescuing Our Environment. The Current Government has sacrificed our rivers, native species and natural environments for short-term economic gain. Our marine habitats and conservation estate have never been under greater threat. Our clean green environment is an important part of our export branding (75% of our exports are dependent on it) and our clean environment is an important factor in our quality of life. We should be able to swim in our rivers, and enjoy clean beaches. Our children and grandchildren should still be able to enjoy the diversity of native species and experience our wild places as we did. Economic success does not have to depend on environmental destruction and we need to make some strong adjustments to ensure that we have a sustainable economy that rewards and supports sustainable business practices.
7) Clean, Transparent Politics. The Green Party has a track record of clean politics in Parliament that is strongly influenced by our Principles. Unethical and corrupt practices have been able to flourish under this Government and democratic process and human rights have been sidelined time and time again. A fully independent Royal Commission of Inquiry is needed to restore the public's faith in our Government and let some sunlight and fresh air into our democracy. The Greens' principle of appropriate decision making will mean that those most affected by any decision should have a significant role in making that decision. Under a Green Government we would not have the kind of debacle that occurred with the closing of Christchurch schools and government services will again listen and address the needs of New Zealanders and not publicly shame those who have alternative views.
8) A Fairer Society. New Zealand has had the fastest growing inequity of incomes in the OECD for some years and we now have a wealthy elite who have greater access to our resources and services than the majority of New Zealanders. We need to address inequality by ensuring that the basics for a comfortable and healthy life are available to all. This means healthy food, healthy homes, quality education and strong communities. It doesn't mean handouts but providing the support and assistance necessary to help families and communities to function independently and be self determining.
9) Infrastructure that works. Anyone who travels overseas, especially in Europe, becomes aware about how limited our transport options are. We are practically forced to use our cars because our public transport cannot be relied on and walking and cycling is often too dangerous to consider. The spending of the last Government has almost been entirely on a few expensive motorways and our cities and regions have suffered. Our children should be able to bike or walk to school independently and safely (as many of us once did) and investing in trains and buses will make travel more efficient and our roads less congested.
The latest North and South magazine has an article that reveals that although we have amongst cheapest and cleanest power production in the world it actually costs New Zealand consumers almost double than most. Power charges now support excessive and unnecessary profits for power companies and their shareholders and have become a form of taxation for our Government. The people who have to pay the most for their power can afford it the least. 40,000 homes had their power cut off last year because of unpaid bills and yet it is poor families living in cold damp homes that have to use the most electricity. Respiratory illness amongst children is growing at an alarming rate, we need to make power costs fair and affordable again.
10) Be Part of the Change. There is the old saying that 'you get what you vote for' and even a non-vote is a form of voting if you choose not to exercise it. The National Party only just had enough to govern in the last election, partly due to the fact that 25% of voters did not vote. If you are unhappy with the direction of the country and feel that you have not had a fair share of our 'Rock Star' economy, then you have an opportunity for change. If you want a healthier, cleaner environment and feel comfortable that your children and grandchildren will have a secure future then your vote can lead to that outcome. Think of how you would feel after September 20 if the Government that results enables a real future we can look forward to and your vote had a part in it.
If you really love New Zealand and want a cleaner, fairer, smarter future...
PARTY VOTE GREEN!