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Greens unveil policy platform with focus on transition to green economy, tax and welfare reform

Green Party co-leaders Marama Davidson and James Shaw have today unveiled their policy platform ahead of the election in September.

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There was no mention of NZ First at their launch after the parties locked horns earlier this week. Source: 1 NEWS

Speaking at the party’s Annual General Meeting today, Ms Davidson said its policy platform document covered its vision for fairer communities, a healthier environment and a cleaner economy. 

Ms Davidson said the party chose to release its vision document now as “this election should be a contest of ideas”.

“In the upcoming weeks we will launch key, visionary, costed policies that are focused on climate action, healthy nature and equality.”

She said the announcements would be “the driving force” of what the Greens wanted to achieve should it return to government. 

Ms Davidson said Covid-19 “has shone a light on the glaring holes in our system”, and that the country was “at a crossroads” in its response to the pandemic.

NZ First nowhere in sight

Marching in to the election wtih a new campaign slogan, ‘Thinking Ahead’ there was not mention of NZ First today.

The two parties have locked horns earlier this week with Green Party co-leader James Shaw calling Winston Peter’s party a “millstone” over the last three years.

With NZ First throwing its weight around, it’s often left the Greens looking like a third wheel, in the three-way coalition.

The Green Party’s launched a full election document today. While this document holds the party’s hopes and dreams, it could also create some coalition nightmares.

Here's a closer look at what the Green Party policy priorities included:

Children and education:

  • Improve early childhood education funding and extend childcare subsidies.
  • Lowering the voting age to 16 and embed civics education in school curriculums.
  • Prioritise pay equity for early childhood education teachers.
  • Continue free apprenticeships.
  • Abolish the “youth wage” starting out rate.

Health:

  • Increase public health funding.
  • Restrict junk food advertising aimed at kids.
  • Free mental health counselling for all under 25.

Housing:

  • Build solar-powered, efficient state houses.
  • Support rent-to-own and shared equity housing programmes. The Government launched a scheme yesterday to help people who struggle to raise enough money for a deposit into home ownership. The $400 million scheme was announced last September during changes to the failed KiwiBuild scheme. The progressive home ownership fund was in the Green Party and Labour’s confidence and supply agreement.
  • Implement a Rental Warrant of Fitness.

Tax and welfare:

  • Welfare reforms, including a guaranteed minimum income and taxing the wealthy. The policy was first announced in June.
  • Guarantee annual minimum wage increases.

Business:

  • Commit to a “Just Transition” approach to transition due to climate change to sustainable new jobs.
  • Revitalise "Buy Kiwi Made".

Transport and infrastructure:

  • Make public transport more frequent and affordable.
  • Expand electric vehicle charging stations across country.
  • Clean car discounts to make electric cars cheaper.

Climate change:

  • Bring forward the Government’s target for 100 per cent renewable electricity from 2035 to 2030.
  • Ban new fossil-fuelled industrial heating systems and boilers within 100 days of election to Government.
  • Pull all Government investments out of fossil fuel companies.

Water:

  • Phase water allocation down to sustainable levels, with iwi and hapū input.
  • Support farmers to reduce run-off and need for irrigation.

Conservation:

Animal welfare:

  • Establishing a Minister for Animal Welfare.
  • Ban or phase out activities harmful to animals, including factory farming, rodeo, farrowing crates and greyhound racing.

Drugs:

Women:

Foreign affairs and immigration:

  • Progressively increase the refugee quota to 5000, a policy the Greens first announced in 2017.
  • Oppose New Zealand’s participation in the Five Eyes spy network.

Justice

  • Oppose further arming of Police and support de-escalation training. It comes as the Police's Armed Response Teams trials came to an end in April. In June, Police Commissioner Andy Coster ruled out implementing the team.
  • Expand specialist courts like the Rangatahi and Pasifika Courts for young people throughout country.
  • Expand the Youth Court to cover all young people up to the age of 18, regardless of offence.

Māori and Pāsefika

  • Make te reo a core curriculum subject through to Year 10 while increasing funding for learning programmes.
  • Support creating new Māori health agency.
  • Recognise Matariki as a public holiday. A proposal to add Matariki as a public holiday made it to Parliament in 2009, but didn't get across the line.
  • Develop a national Pāsefika Education Strategy.