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Greens achieve significant policy gains

Greens achieve significant policy gains

The Green Party has negotiated a comprehensive policy agreement in exchange for an abstention on issues of confidence and supply.

Green Party Co-Leaders Jeanette Fitzsimons and Rod Donald said weeks of negotiating in good faith with Labour have secured an agreement that contains significant Green initiatives.

These include a Buy Kiwi Made campaign that will provide a huge boost to employment in local businesses and an enhanced energy efficiency programme, including solar panels for New Zealand homes.

This agreement will result in Ms Fitzsimons becoming a Government spokesperson on energy efficiency and solar programmes and Mr Donald a spokesperson on Buy Kiwi Made.

The Greens have also negotiated agreements for joint policy and decision-making in areas of environmental education, initiatives to improve nutrition and working with the community and voluntary sector.

In addition the government has agreed to undertake work, in which we will be involved, to increase the certainty that farmers and food producers have that they can continue to grow and sell guaranteed GE free produce. This is likely to take the form of a greatly enhanced segregation and identity preservation system.

Other policies Labour has agreed to include:

* Build increased capacity for public transport

* Increase the number of students eligible for student allowances by increasing parental income thresholds

* Further reduce levels of child poverty

* Increase Overseas Development Assistance in the next three budgets beyond that currently forecast.

* Enhance organics advisory services.

* Increase the minimum wage to $12-an-hour by the end of 2008

* Firm up the area of GE-free production

* Maintain a dialogue around peacemaking

* Retain the Maori seats for as long as Maori want them.

* Intensive habitat management to restore populations of endangered species

"Unfortunately Labour has chosen to bow to the threats of New Zealand First and United Future in order to secure power. We do not believe such a government is in New Zealand's best interests and therefore cannot, in all conscience, actively provide support," Ms Fitzsimons says.

Mr Donald says: "Many of the policy and budgetary demands that Labour has accepted from NZ First and United Future are socially, economically or environmentally destructive. Despite that, we consider that the agreement we have reached will help to move New Zealand forward in a positive direction."

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