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A strong stand on just and sustainable society

6 June 2005


Greens take strong stand on just and sustainable society

Green candidates, delegates and grass-roots campaigners returned home today on a high note after a successful conference, well aware the outcome of this election could be pivotal to the future of New Zealand.

"This weekend we have deliberately laid down a challenge to Winston Peters, and we make no apology for that, because we are strongly opposed to anyone who tries to inflame racial tension in our peaceful country," said Co-Leader Rod Donald.

"We call on Mr Peters to rethink his latest immigration policy, with its talk of flying squads searching the homes of 'undesirables'. Instead of scapegoating migrants, he should get to know some of them, because then he might appreciate how much they add to the richness of our society.

On Saturday the conference was addressed by Ross Wilson from the CTU and Laila Harre from the NZ Nurses Organisation, both applauding the Greens' consistent stand on social justice issues and recognising that the Greens are likely to be the key to the fortunes of the social progressive cause this year.

Then on Sunday, Neil Deans from Fish and Game and Kevin Hackwell from Forest and Bird gave the delegates thorough briefings on the clean rivers campaign and the conservation issues they will be highlighting in this year.

"In this election campaign the Green Party will connect the dots between efforts for a just society and efforts for a sustainable one,' said Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons.

The Greens also launched their student support policy, after a speech from NZ University Students Association co-president Andrew Kirton. "We are the only Party to offer a common sense solution to the student debt crisis," said Mr Donald. "The first step is a scheme to wipe out one year's debt for each year worked in New Zealand. The eventual goal is a return to proper taxpayer-funded tertiary education, which the Greens see as central to the social contract between generations and an essential investment in the workers and parents of the future."

The Greens had a message for Maori voters. "You can get two MPs for the price of one this year by giving your electorate vote to the best local candidate and your Party Vote to the Greens," said Ms Fitzsimons.

The Greens also made a pitch for women's votes with Ms Fitzsimons highlighting in her speech that the battle for gender equality is still to be won. "This election will be a choice between a Green-Labour Government committed to breaking down the barriers to female participation and a NZ First-National Government which writes off such issues as 'political correctness gone made'."

"One of the highlights of the weekend was the fantastic ethnic food from around the world, prepared by the conference caterers, Global Kitchen, a business run by new migrants," said Mr Donald. "With over 200 members attending, this has been our biggest-ever pre-election conference."

Speeches and other information from the conference: http://www.greens.org.nz/searchdocs/other8753.html

ENDS


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