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Greens issue challenge to incoming government

In or out of Parliament, the Green Party intends to be the watchdog of the new government said co-leaders Jeanette Fitzsimons and Rod Donald today.

"On behalf of the 100,000 people who voted Green on Saturday we will use the ten days until special votes are counted to raise the issues they voted for and which are unlikely to be in the coalition agreement," they said.

At a press conference this morning they outlined their first challenge to the incoming government.

"The most important task for Helen and Jim is to restore the faith of New Zealanders in Parliament and the democratic process," said Jeanette Fitzsimons. "MMP can only work as people intended if the coalition agreement allows both parties to vote for the policies they were elected on."

The Greens identified the four most urgent areas where action is needed before Christmas to prevent further damage to people and the environment.

Logging contracts on the West Coast

"Contracts for West Coast rimu which have been signed in great political haste to tie the hands of an incoming government must not be allowed to stand," said Rod Donald. "The Coasters have been offered a generous compensation package of pine forest and cash. We support this, but in return the public must get the conservation benefits, not lose tens of thousands more ancient rimu trees under spurious contracts." Action on genetic engineering

Jeanette Fitzsimons called for progress on labelling of GE food to be speeded up, the membership of the royal commission on genetic engineering to be determined only after consultation to determine who will have the trust of a cross section of New Zealanders, and approvals of new field trials to be stopped.

Transport funding

New urban motorways including Wellington's proposed inner city by-pass and Auckland's Eastern Motorway and South Western Motorway should be cancelled and the money put into public transport and cycling facilities.

Relief from Poverty

Relief for people on low incomes and beneficiaries is desperately needed before Christmas to address the inequalities created over the last 15 years.

Contact Rod Donald, 04 470 6660, 025 507 183 Jeanette Fitzsimons, 470 6661, 025 586 068

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