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First Latin American To Stand For New Zealand Parliament

Grassroots Campaigner Ricardo Menendez March First Latin American To Stand For New Zealand Parliament

Grassroots campaigner and Racial Equity Aotearoa spokesperson Ricardo Menendez March has been selected as the Green Party candidate for the Mount Roskill electorate in the 2017 General Election.

“I have always had a strong affinity to Green Party principles, as they represent the fight against our current economic system. The work of Green MPs like Catherine Delahunty, who are unapologetic about their positive vision for the future encouraged me to stand for Parliament,” Menendez March said.

“It is a great privilege to be the first Latin American to run for the New Zealand Parliament. As a Mexican immigrant, I am proud to be standing with the next generation of progressive Green Party politicians who are committed to an inclusive society.”

Born in Mexico City and brought up in Tijuana, Ricardo Menendez March, now 28 years old, is a spokesperson for Racial Equity Aotearoa. Menendez March moved to New Zealand in 2006 to pursue tertiary education, and has been involved with the Green Party since 2014, acting as Co-Convenor for his local Green Party branch since 2015 and was one of the Co-Convenors for the Young Greens in 2016. He has also been involved in student politics, acting as Co-convenor of the Greens at the University of Auckland group.

“I hope to bring my passion and experience regarding issues on immigration, LGBTQIA+ rights, access to tertiary education and anti-racism activism to make politics a much more accessible space for our migrant, queer and wider communities to participate. In the wake of right wing populist politics, it is important to counter divisive narratives that wish to pit migrants against Māori and the working class.”

“I am committed to building relationships between all communities that are affected by systemic racism. The struggles of our migrant communities must be contextualised in Aotearoa’s colonial history. While systemic racism affects Māori differently than migrants of colour, understanding and building upon our shared struggles opens up exciting opportunities to build powerful movements based on solidarity.”

At the meeting, Menendez March spoke on what drove him to seek candidacy in the Mount Roskill electorate.

“Mount Roskill is a great electorate to highlight many of these issues, as it contains the highest overseas born population in all of New Zealand. Having lived and worked in Mount Roskill for several years now, I see it as an area where the Greens could build the Party Vote and form a lot of important relationships with communities often ignored by mainstream politics.”

“Representation matters, and it needs to be genuine representation. It is not enough to see yourself reflected in Members of Parliament, you need to know these MPs are willing to stand up for people’s rights when it matters.”

“The Green Party has a long history of supporting grassroots activism, and many grassroots groups in Aotearoa have been on the frontlines making our world a better place. It’s a privilege to be a part of that culture and I want to be a part of its growth. My lived experiences as a gay migrant of colour guide my political work towards building inclusive movements where our migrant communities feel empowered. Only by working together and offering a clear and bold alternative to our current economic system will we be able to tackle Climate Change and counter the rise of right wing populist politics and anti-immigration sentiment.”

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