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NZ Greens to stand UK-based candidate

Press Release 22 June 1999

In what is believed to be a first for New Zealand, the Green Party has selected a UK based candidate to contest this year's general election.

Celia Wade-Brown, a former Wellington City Councillor (1994-98) and Green Party candidate in the 1996 NZ election, will campaign throughout UK and Europe from her home base near Reading, Berkshire.

Announcing Ms Wade-Brown's selection for the party list, Green Party Co-Leader Rod Donald, who has been in Bonn, Brussels and London organising her campaign, said "There are more New Zealanders living in the UK who are eligible to vote in the NZ election than in any single NZ electorate."

"Last time, 4,451 kiwis voted from the UK. We hope to increase that turn-out significantly. We will be targeting young voters who have a good appreciation of Green issues from their travels, plus "the Values generation" - people now 40+ who supported the Values Party - the world's first Green Party in the 1972, 75 and 78 elections."

Standing a UK based candidate is possible under New Zealand's system of proportional representation where voters have two votes - one for their local MP and one for the party of their choice. Ms Wade-Brown will be campaigning for the party vote as well as encouraging any Coromandel-registered voters to re-elect Green MP Jeanette Fitzsimons.

The NZ Green Party is buoyed up by the recent successes of European Green Parties in the European, Belgian and Scottish elections.

The UK Greens now have two seats in the European parliament as part of the 38-strong Green block.

"There is clearly growing support for green policies as the world faces threats of GM food, climate change and corporate globalisation," said Celia Wade-Brown.

"International issues such as the destruction of Asian, African and Latin American rainforests and the right of third world farmers to save their seeds need to be tackled by MPs with a global perspective. Well travelled Kiwis have seen the effects of pollution, poverty and corporate greed first-hand. Now they can ensure there is a voice in the NZ parliament to address these challenges.

"Kiwis abroad also cherish our national parks, fabulous coast, the bush-covered hills and the threatened birds like kiwi, kakapo and tui. They don't want their national heritage trashed by logging, pollution, more roads and GM crops.

"A vote for the Green Party is a vote to save the best of New Zealand and to give substance to our clean, green image," she said.

The Greens say their campaign will make the most of the Internet, to overcome the geographical spread of tourists, nannies, shearers, programmers and all the other Kiwis in UK and Europe.

"We also have on the ground support from the UK Greens and Green Parties in Europe to run such things as stalls at sporting events featuring New Zealand teams," Ms Wade-Brown said. New Zealanders are eligible to vote in the coming election if they are NZ citizens who have visited New Zealand in the last three years or New Zealand residents who have been away from home for less than twelve months.

The Green Party needs to win an electorate or 5% of the party vote to see its two MPs re-elected and more join them. "That's why winning votes in the UK and Europe is so important to our overall campaign" said Rod Donald.

Biographical Information - Celia Wade-Brown

* born 12th July 1956 in London, England

* emigrated to New Zealand in August 1983, lived in Island Bay, Wellington for 15 years

* married to Alastair Nicholson, New Zealander from Invercargill

* two sons - Ramsay (b 10/05/91 and Jonathan (b 12/09/93), at the local primary school

* has been school-teacher - Science and Foundation Studies for 11-12 year-olds

* computer programmer / analyst

* now studying Horticulture - especially School Grounds Improvement Projects and website design

* interests - cycling with the family, running, Indian food, gardening with local plants

* Wellington City Councillor from April 1994 to October 1998 for Southern Ward

* Chaired Cityscape committee responsible for open space and heritage

* spending time in England to be with her parents near Reading.

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