Bunkle Welcomes Green Ex-Colleagues to Parliament
Ex-Green MP and Alliance Minister Phillida Bunkle said she was very pleased to learn that her ex-colleagues had made it into parliament and was looked forward to working closely with them.
Bunkle left the Greens in 1997 when the party split from the Alliance, with Bunkle opting to remain within the Alliance.
“I was very pleased to learn about the Greens,” she said. “I think it is great. Great for the planet and, actually, I think it is very good for parliament. I think the Greens will significantly change the landscape of parliament... the mood and the feel of parliament.”
Bunkle said she has met briefly with Fitzsimons and has personally congratulated all the new Green MPs. She said it was positive the way the party “had energised the young people behind some key issues”.
Despite strong support from her party leader Jim Anderton on issues such as genetic engineering, Bunkle said it was nice to have more variety of support from the Greens on these issues.
“It makes those stands easier to take,” she said.
Bunkle said she was sure her welcome of the Greens were reflective of her party’s sentiments. “I’m sure it is. I have heard Jim sound very positive.”
As an ex-Green member Bunkle has long personal history with many members of the Greens and expects the familiarity to be “a great advantage” in the two parties working together in parliament.
She said she does not regret leaving the Greens and believes the two parties will help keep each other true to their principles. “I think being alongside the Alliance willl make sure the Greens stay on the track of economic equality and strong government,” she said.
Bunkle expects the Alliance and the Greens will work closely on the issue of genetic engineering from the start, however she is keen to start working with the Greens on general issues of toxic substances.
“Labour had a bill on spray-drift – chemical trespass – and it would be really good for Labour to get that bill up again and put it forward because the chances are that we could all now agree. Labour has also had a mining bill which Judith Tizard was active on and now is the perfect time for Labour to bring those sorts of bills forward,” she said.
Bunkle says party leaders have all been extremely busy and is sure Anderton and Fitzsimons will meet shortly. She says the Greens have not been at parliament long and so far there has been little potential for any interaction between the two party leaders.
While Bunkle doesn’t personally favour direct action, she is less critical of some Green candidates than Anderton was during the election campaign. Bunkle said she has met Sue Bradford many times at employment related functions and “has a great deal of respect for her and her stands”.
“I think she makes a huge contribution because she is so down to earth and clearly focused, and I think it is very good that she is so comfortable in the Greens... I have always appreciated the kind of stands Sue took and I think it is very good that now she is able to be there wholeheartedly.
“I know that Sue wouldn’t be in a party that hadn’t properly thought through those key [employment] issues," she said.
“I think their fresh voice on how things are to be done will be very valuable in parliament.”