Alex Foulkes To Stand For Green Party Co-Leader
Alex Foulkes is today announcing that he is standing in the 2024 Green Party co-leadership election to replace James Shaw.
A long-time activist and conservationist, Foulkes was born in Scotland and currently lives in Dunedin. Foulkes is standing to ensure there is a lively debate about the future of the Green Party and Aotearoa.
“The greatest strength of the Green Party is our member-led democracy. A position as important as co-leader should never go uncontested,” said Foulkes.
“The time is right for the Greens to displace Labour as the main left-of-centre party in this country. The only way for us to overtake Labour is to win over their base — the Greens must become the party of the working-class.”
Foulkes, 48, was born in Edinburgh and raised in Ayrshire, and migrated to Aotearoa in 2002. He currently lives in Dunedin, where he is a Wildlife Biologist and Conservationist and has previously worked in a range of countries in Europe, Africa, and Latin America.
He studied his first degree at the University of Edinburgh with a MA (Hons.) in Geography and Politics and gained further qualifications from the University of Auckland (Diploma in Environmental Management) and Edinburgh Napier University (MSc in Wildlife Biology and Conservation).
Foulkes first got involved in the Green Party in 2008 when he was the Secretary of the University of Auckland Greens on Campus. He has campaigned for the Green Party in multiple elections in Auckland, the Coromandel and Christchurch. Foulkes is a Fellow of the Zoological Society of London and supports multiple conservation charities such as Forest and Bird, Orokonui Ecosanctuary and the RSPB.
Why Foulkes is standing
Foulkes is standing because he believes that ‘coronations’ are bad for democracy. “The greatest strength of the Green Party is our member-led democracy. A position as important as co-leader should never go uncontested. There should always be a discussion over ideas, policy, and strategy. Our party has a unique advantage in that members’ views are taken seriously.
Winning a democratic mandate always strengthens a leader. Whoever wins this contest of ideas will come out a stronger co-leader for the Greens.”
Foulkes is careful to stress that he is not standing because he opposes Chlöe Swarbrick. “I have immense respect for Chlöe Swarbrick. I campaigned for her in Auckland Central last election. I strongly believe that, if elected, she will make a brilliant co-leader.”
Foulkes agrees with Swarbrick on most issues, but believes the party needs to go further.
“Labour ran a spectacularly uninspiring campaign last year. The time is right for the Greens to displace Labour as the main left-of-centre party in this country. The only way for us to overtake Labour is to win over their base — the Greens must become the party of the working-class.
For too long, the Greens have struggled to appeal to workers. Green MPs have shied away from using the words working class. We are seen as a middle-class party, and in many ways that is true.
That must change. The working class has not had real representation in this country for 40 years. It’s past time the Greens stepped up to proudly claim that mantle.”
Foulkes is careful to emphasise that this does not mean abandoning the party’s environmental credentials:
“I am a conservationist, and want to see our environmental policies strengthened even further. We must communicate clearly that environmental issues are workers’ issues, and that climate change is the greatest threat facing the working class.”
Foulkes identifies with the radical wing of the Greens — he describes himself as “a staunch Eco-Socialist and trade unionist.” He is a proud republican who does not recognise King Charles as his Head of State. He opposes attacks on Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and supports a free and independent Palestine.
In coming days, Foulkes intends to release a manifesto for an Eco-Socialist Green Party. This will include:
- A Green New Deal to transform Aotearoa away from fossil fuels while creating well-paid union jobs.
- A radical plan to address inequality in Aotearoa by making all essential services free and overhauling the tax system.
- Treaty-based constitutional transformation, with the removal of the monarchy as New Zealand head of state.
- Changing the Green Party Constitution to allow trade unions to formally affiliate to the Greens.
- A radical plan to protect our public lands from corporate greed and unsustainable use and to protect and enhance indigenous biodiversity.