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New party Sustainable NZ announces launch date

The new party Sustainable New Zealand wants to take the environment all the way to the top negotiating table, aiming to be in the lucrative king/queenmaker position that NZ First held at the last election. 

It is launching on November 10 at Wellington's urban ecosanctuary Zealandia. 

The newly formed party's top three policies include healthy water, saving native species from extinction and creating "sustainable, economic growth".

Leader Vernon Tava, a former Waitematā Local Board member, is known for having an unsuccessful crack at the Green Party co-leader position in 2015 and attempting to gain the National candidacy for the Auckland electorate of Northcote in 2018 - again unsuccessfully. 

Despite his history with the two parties, he is distancing himself and Sustainable NZ from the label 'blue-green' - saying it's a party sitting in the middle of politics. 

"I reject blue-greens. We can work with both Labour and National, our focus is first and foremost for the environment and we have a vision," Mr Tava said. 

He said Sustainable New Zealand would place the environment as a priority, "but don't believe we need to radically over turn the economy and society to achieve that".

"We believe we can have economic growth, and protect the environment. Free market and fostering innovation is the pathway forward for New Zealand’s economic success," he says, pledging Sustainable NZ was not a party "just blaming farmers for everything". 

When asked if he would be seeking a handshake deal for an electorate, Mr Tava said the focus was getting past the five per cent threshold vote at Election 2020. 

"That’s what we’re aiming for, I firmly believe there’s enough of a vote out there."

Mr Tava's thoughts on Labour and National's environment policies -  "Both of the parties have a lot of work to do."

"Labour’s rhetoric is good. They are doing a lot of good work, the fresh water reforms, proposing most significant reforms in a generation.

"But we need to make sure we bring farming and rural community with them."

On National, he said they had "come a long way". 

"There's a lot of good stuff, looking at waste, talking about a circular economy is a really positive thing... But there's always gaps between what parties say and do in Government."

Vernon Tava. Source: Supplied.