Meet the Green Party co-leader contenders: 10 quick questions with Julie Anne Genter and Marama Davidson

Meet the contenders for co-leadership of New Zealand's third biggest political party - the Greens. Marama Davidson and Julie Anne Genter threw their hats in the ring for the top spot, after Metiria Turei stepped down last year. 

Which New Zealand celebrity would you like to be stranded on an island with?

Source: 1 NEWS

Julie Anne: Nadia Lim

Sonny Bill Williams prepares to take to the field for the Sevens.
Sonny Bill Williams prepares to take to the field for the Sevens. Source: Getty

Marama: Sonny Bill Williams – for purely political reasons! He often uses his celebrity platform and reach to uphold social justice.

Do you have a secret skill or game or sport you're really good at?

Marama: My champion Connect Four skills are well known in my family, albeit sometimes disputed.

Julie Anne: I played competitive ultimate frisbee for many years (I wouldn't say I am amazing).

When was your greatest disappointment in your parliamentary career?

Julie Anne:
The Green's medicinal cannabis member's bill (I lodged, and Chloe Swarbrick progressed) not passing last week.

Marama: Not getting more of our fabulous candidates on our list into Parliament at the last election.

Who is your hero?

Marama: Debbie Munroe and Liz Kiriona for their commitment to the people living rough on the streets in Manurewa.

Julie Anne: Janette Sadik-Khan, former Transportation Commissioner of New York City, for revolutionising streets in NYC.

Who is your favourite MP from the Opposition and why?

Julie Anne: The Hon Peter Dunne, for changing his mind and becoming an advocate for drug law reform. I enjoyed working with him on the medicinal cannabis member's bill.

Marama: Former MP Chester Borrows, for his manaaki (support) towards me and his genuine commitment to Maori issues.

Not including anyone from the Green Party, who do you think is the toughest debater in the House?

Julie Anne: Jacinda Ardern.

Marama: I love watching Tracey Martin (NZ First) especially on education issues.

If you could go out to coffee with one other world leader, who would it be and why?

Julie Anne: Katrín Jakobsdottir, the Left-Green Prime Minister of Iceland. She campaigned to restore welfare benefits and to make Iceland carbon-neutral.

Marama: PM of Tuvalu Enele Sopoaga for the leadership that he and other Pacific Island leaders have shown, fighting for their islands against the rising seas of climate change, and challenging Donald Trump's withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement.

What spurred you to join the Green Party?

Marama: As an independent Maori women activist, I would speak publicly on environmental and social justice and I found I was singing from the same song sheet as Green Party MPs. I admired the dignified and courageous approach that the Greens had to politics. 

Julie Anne:
I was already a Green supporter in the US and Europe before coming to NZ. In 2006, I read several speeches and press releases by party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons and I was in awe. Some good friends were involved in the party, and encouraged me to join.

And what made you want to be an MP?

Julie Anne: Over the years as a party volunteer and activist, I never thought I would be an MP. As I started work as a transport planner, I did a lot of public speaking and media to advocate for policy change. Friends in the party suggested I should stand as a candidate. I knew I would love the work, and I’m so lucky to be in this position.

Marama: Greens I was asked to stand in the Ikaroa-Rawhiti by-election - I realised I had a huge opportunity before me to become an MP and use that political influence to push for the progressive changes our country and our world needs.

What do you think has been your greatest achievement so far?

The Minister for Women will go up against Marama Davidson. Source: 1 NEWS

Welcomed with cheers and a haka, Ms Davidson puts herself in the running for the Green Party co-leader role. Source: 1 NEWS

Marama: Since I have been in Parliament I am proud to have put issues like Te Reo Maori in schools on the political agenda and to have gained the support of people right around the country who have been inspired to support and vote for the Greens for the first time.

Julie Anne: Changing the debate around public transport, cycling and how we design our cities.

Julie Anne Genter and Marama Davidson.
Julie Anne Genter and Marama Davidson.