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Norman: Green Party 2014 election campaign close

Green Party Co-leader Russel Norman’s speech - Green Party 2014 election campaign close

Russel Norman MP on Thursday, September 18, 2014 - 13:28

I became the Co-leader of the Green Party in 2006, eight years ago this June.

At that time we were sitting at just above 5 percent in the polls and only had six MPs in Parlia-ment.

I am enormously proud of the work Metiria and I have done to build our party into the stand-alone, third biggest party in New Zealand politics that we are today.

From humble beginnings we have transitioned from a party that used to hold its breath on elec-tion night, wondering if we'd get to 5 percent, to a party heading into this election with a chance of winning the largest number of votes ever in an MMP election, outside of Labour and National.

I love our party. I love our independent and unique space in New Zealand politics.

Where once our mission was to be a catalyst for change that others in power adopted and imple-mented, now we stand on the cusp of being in Government with the opportunity to build a clean-er, fairer, smarter New Zealand ourselves.

Our success has been based on stable leadership, a united team and a crystal clear vision for a better Aotearoa.

Over the last three years, we've led the opposition to National's agenda.

Because of the Greens, New Zealanders stood up to National's asset sales.

We collected the most signatures ever in a citizens initiated referendum, and we won, despite John Key doing everything he could to stifle New Zealanders' democratic voice (and inevitably ignoring them completely).

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Our opposition to the SkyCity deal, and our use of every trick in the book to hold up its construc-tion, has ensured no sod has been turned on National's convention centre, paid for from the pro-ceeds of problem gambling and human misery.

And our dogged advocacy for clean rivers has meant the issue is now high enough on the politi-cal agenda no party can feasibly ignore it.

These are just three of the many issues Green MPs have campaigned for, fought for, spoken out on, taken risks for.

We may have had only 14 MPs, but we have led the charge to end this National Government.

Stable leadership, a united team and a crystal clear vision for change - key ingredients for suc-cess, and qualities the Greens have in spades.

I want to take a moment to talk about our vision for change.

Because what I especially love about elections (apart from visiting dairy-free ice cream factories like we did this morning) is the generation of new ideas.

In fact my staff have been known to roll their eyes at my commitment to idea generation.

When they think a one or two page briefing paper will do, I want to write a book, or at the very least an essay.

When they say "please Russel, just keep the speech short and sweet", I sometimes don't quite hear them (although don't panic, I have heeded their advice today)

Elections should throw up new thinking to help drive our country forward.

Because the dominant ideas of the last generation are no longer fit for purpose.

They have left our environment and too many of our people in trouble.

We need new thinking to take on the increasingly complex challenges we face as a country, and as a human race.

National has completely failed to grasp this.

When Finance Minister Bill English was asked recently what his one big idea was to boost the New Zealand economy, he drew a blank.

He could not come up with a single new idea to help our country improve and prosper.

National has no road map to a better New Zealand - no vision.

The Greens do.

Ours is a vision built around a very simple idea - that the only kind of economy that will deliver true and long-term prosperity is an economy that accounts for environmental limits and doesn't leave people behind.

So we've put a plan together, and a blue print of how to get there - fully costed I might add, which is more than you can say for the other parties - National included.

We have a billion dollar plan to turn around child poverty and address inequality.

We'll ensure all our rivers are clean enough to swim in and our beaches free from oil

We'll protect the last remaining 55 Maui's dolphins then put in place measures to grow the popu-lation from there.

We'll tackle climate change as a priority, while ensuring New Zealanders are better off, by taxing polluters and returning the money to households and businesses in the form of tax cuts.

Just yesterday a major new report from leading global economists found investments to help fight climate change can also drive economic development and jobs, but time is running out to make the shift.

Let's get on with it.

We'll partner with business to invest $1 billion into R&D to spur clean innovation across our economy.

We'll put solar panels on thousands of homes and schools, reducing power bills and emissions.

We'll establish a Green Investment Bank to accelerate New Zealand's low carbon transition.

We'll secure 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030.

We'll take money that's currently going on unnecessary motorway projects and spend it on world-class public transport instead, transforming the way New Zealanders get around.

We'll complete Auckland's City Rail Link by 2020.

It's the 21st century. Let's embrace the opportunities. We're New Zealand, this is our time.

For many people, this election will be the first time they vote Green.

We've just heard from some of them, but I've also spoken to nurses, farmers, labourers, academ-ics, bus drivers, teachers, tech business leaders - who'll be party voting for us this time, despite traditionally voting elsewhere.

To all those people - great to have you on board.

We've led the opposition over the last three years and we're ready to lead in Government.

It's over to you now.

Let's make history. Let's take our country back.

Love New Zealand. Party Vote Green

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