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Campaign closes on a positive note

Campaign closes on a positive note


The Green Party's election campaign officially came to a close tonight with the release of a dozen highlights that MPs hope to achieve over the next three years and a message of support from Prime Minister Helen Clark.

Speaking at a celebration in Wellington, attended by all eight serving MPs and party supporters, Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons outlined 12 areas that the Green Party wanted to focus on in the next term.

"If, as we expect on Saturday, New Zealanders opt for a Labour/Green Government, we believe that together we can create the best New Zealand for all New Zealanders - regardless of where they come from or what their socio-economic status is.

"This campaign has been marked by negative messages. More money has been spent by others attacking and misrepresenting our policies than by us promoting them. However I want to finish as we campaigned, on a wholly positive note.

"The Greens can add substantial value to the next government. We have selected 12 highlights from our policies which we believe are achievable in the next term of Parliament, and which could make a huge difference to the lives of New Zealanders.

"The big economic threats to New Zealand are the end of cheap oil, high student debt and a ballooning balance of payments deficit. Our policies address all three.

"They also address child poverty, clean water and safe food, themes on which we have campaigned for the last year.

Co-Leader Rod Donald read a brief message of support from the Prime Minister, in which she indicated her desire to work alongside the Greens.

The closing was also addressed by Green Party member and film star Rawiri Paratene, who has featured in both television and print advertising supporting the Greens.

ENDS

A list of the 12 highlights for a Labour Green Government is below.

Highlights of what the Green Party hopes to achieve in the next Parliamentary term

The Green Party, as part of the next Labour led Government, will be looking to implement a number of its key policies from our comprehensive policy programme. The highlights below are some of the initiatives we hope to achieve in the next three years.

Highlights

Energy

1. Soften the impact of rising fuel costs by creating real transport choices, including:

- completing properly funded public transport networks in cities

- upgrading rail systems to carry freight and passengers and reduce heavy trucks on our roads

- set energy efficiency standards for all vehicles coming into New Zealand.

2. Help people to cut power bills and take real action on climate change by:

- Getting half a million solar panels on kiwi homes

- $10 million extra funding for home insulation and efficiency improvements. Environment

3. Invest in the future of our environment by

- Working towards environmental education in every school, starting with an additional $5 million pa to build on Greens previous budget bid

- Starting the clean up of the 95% of lowland rivers and streams that are unfit for swimming

- Making producers responsible for the products they produce and ensuring they are reusable or recyclable.

4. Invest in our endangered species with

- a $50 million increase to DOC for programmes such as ground based pest control and mainland island sanctuaries

- tough rules to protect albatrosses, dolphins, seals and ancient corals from bad fishing methods.

5. Maintain the GE Free status of NZ's food production and environment Social Justice

6. Action to end child poverty including:

- A commitment to a deadline to end child poverty and a detailed implementation plan

- Extending the child tax credit to all poor children.

7. Tackle student debt by moving towards a universal student allowance.

8. Give kiwi workers a share in our prosperity by raising the minimum wage to $12 per hour.

Strong Self Reliant Economy

9. Encourage kiwis to be loyal to NZ businesses and workers with:

- a buy kiwi made campaign, and government purchasing policy giving priority to kiwi businesses. Te Tiriti

10. Maintain a commitment to te Tiriti including:

- giving Maori seats the same protection as general seats.

Health

11. Refocus health policy on keeping people well including,

- A free annual wellness check for all New Zealanders and a Nutrition Fund in the Ministry of Health to tackle poor diet. Agriculture

12. Progress towards our target of 10% organic by 2010, including:

- a pesticide reduction strategy to phase out the most harmful toxic substances;

- funding assistance for organic certification fees.

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