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Green candidates to campaign for the Kiwi OE vote

9 June 2005

Green candidates to campaign for the Kiwi OE vote

The Green Party will run a strong campaign for overseas votes in this year's election by standing list candidates in Sydney and London, says Co-Leader Rod Donald.

The Greens stood a London-based candidate in 1999 and 2002 and one in Sydney last election.

"Thanks to our overseas candidates at the last election the Greens won 14.2 percent of the 'OE vote'," said Mr Donald, "that was more than twice the level of support in New Zealand itself".

"I'm therefore pleased to announce that Sydney-based James Diack has been selected to campaign in Australia for the Party Vote. A candidate in Britain will be announced soon.

"I believe that our high level of support overseas reflects the fact that Kiwis living abroad have seen how crowded and polluted cities can be and so recognise that New Zealand's environment and heritage are unique and precious and deserve preservation and enhancement.

"For many on their OE, the Greens' new tertiary student support policy, which proposes to wipe one year of a graduate's debt for every year they work in New Zealand, will have particular resonance. Young Kiwis overseas are often 'debt exiles' who have been forced to leave because of the burden of compounding student debt.

"Even if that wasn't the major reason they went offshore, many soon find it becomes a high hurdle in the way of returning. Our policy aims not just to stem the brain drain, but reverse it by providing a clear incentive to come home sooner rather than later," said Mr Donald.

James Diack lives in inner city Sydney where he works as an office manager and political education worker for the New South Wales Greens. He has been a volunteer and activist for a number of progressive Australian organisations for the last five years, including the Sydney Social Forum and Critical Mass.

James will be taking the Green message to numerous Kiwi events across the Tasman in the coming weeks. The 30-year-old is registered to vote in Christchurch Central and will be ranked 31st equal on the Greens' Party List.

ENDS

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