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Green Party Co-Leadership Contender Alex Foulkes Releases Radical Manifesto

Alex Foulkes, Chlöe Swarbrick’s rival for the Green Party co-leadership, is launching ‘Another Aotearoa Is Possible: Manifesto for an Eco-Socialist Green Party.’

The manifesto contains many radical policies Foulkes believes the Green Party must champion if it wants to replace Labour as the main party on the left and lead a government to transform Aotearoa.

“The time is right for the Greens to take leadership in opposition to this chaotic coalition which represents the rich and powerful. To do this, we must become the party of the working class. We must champion radical policies that will transform the lives of working people for the better and make the top 1% pay their fair share.”

The highlights of the manifesto include:

A Green New Deal — an Eco-Socialist Green Government should spend billions of dollars to transition Aotearoa away from fossil fuels, creating thousands of unionised jobs in the process. The ETS should be expanded to include agriculture which makes up half of our emissions and we should transition land-use to more sustainable forms and rewild Aotearoa.

A Workers’ Charter — an ambitious plan for the Greens to champion the most radical pro-worker agenda since 1935, including a promise to Bring Back the Weekend by restoring mandatory night rates, weekend rates and overtime after 40 hours for all workers, and a plan to move towards a four-day work week for all. This is underlined by the commitment Foulkes has already made to champion the ability of trade unions to formally affiliate to the Green Party as they currently affiliate to Labour.

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Tax the Rich, Not the Workers — a promise to create a $30K tax-free threshold and to abolish GST, meaning that workers would have to pay far less tax, paid for by taxes on wealth, corporate profits, ultra-high incomes, and capital gains (excluding the family home).

Housing for All — a clear solution to the housing crisis: to embark on the biggest public house building programme in decades, and freeze rents on the private market until housing costs have reduced dramatically for renters.

Universal Public Services — a Green Government should ensure that all areas of the economy involving healthcare, mental healthcare, dental care, education at all levels, public transport, water, and power are placed under public ownership and provided as high-quality services free at the point of use.

Rethinking Conservation — the manifesto calls for the removal of deer, pigs, goats, and other invasive species from most of the conservation estate and for 30% of our oceans to have legal protection with no-take marine reserves.

A Treaty-Based Republic — the manifesto calls for a referendum on the British monarch remaining as our head of state and an immediate removal of the oath of allegiance.

Foulkes is crystal clear that a Treaty-Based Republic would honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi. “There is a conservative mindset which says that we therefore must keep the British monarch as our head-of-state because the Treaty is between the Crown and iwi.

This is nonsense. International law on the rights of indigenous people states that republics have a clear duty to uphold Treaties and obligations made by prior monarchies. It makes no sense that Aotearoa should continue to have a colonial head-of-state who lives 18,000km away in a series of lavish palaces and castles in England and Scotland. We should immediately remove the requirement to swear allegiance to an illegitimate monarch as they have in Australia.”

Overall, the manifesto presents a bold approach to tackling the inequality crisis that has ravaged Aotearoa for the last 40 years. “The richest people in our society hold an absurd amount of wealth and privilege. Meanwhile, the working class of this country struggles to make ends meet in the cost-of-living crisis, and thousands of children are going to school hungry every week. This is a political choice. If an Eco-Socialist Green Party promises to fight for the workers and to stand up to the wealthy, then we can lead the next government, and transform Aotearoa for the many, not the few.”

Releasing a manifesto is an unusual decision.

It is unconventional in the Green Party for candidates for the co-leadership or for the party list to stand championing a set of policies at all, let alone to put forward a manifesto. This is because the Party rightly believes that the members should determine policy, and that elected representatives should simply reflect the will of the membership at large.

Foulkes says: “It is certainly true that members should decide policy. But it is simply naïve to pretend that co-leaders and MPs do not have significant sway on deciding what the party’s policies are, and what policies are prioritised in campaigns.

Rather than pretending co-leaders and MPs do not have influence on policy direction, we should instead interrogate candidates in internal elections on what exactly they stand for. Do they see themselves as being on the left of the party, the right, or the centre? What does that mean in political terms? What does that mean in terms of the policies they will fight for and the policies they will oppose?

Members should be able to vote for officeholder candidates — especially co-leadership candidates — knowing the answers to these questions in advance. If elected co-leader I will be the voice of the members every day in the role and represent members views to MPs.

That is why I am putting forward my policy vision in clear terms. In doing so, I hope to generate debate about the direction of the party, and I hope to set a precedent for more co-leadership candidates and list candidates in future to do the same. The more we know about what our elected representatives stand for, the better they can represent us.”

Foulkes adds: “The National led coalition of chaos represents nobody but the tiny minority of wealthy elites at the top of society who already have too much wealth and power. It’s time for ordinary people to fight back. Socialists, environmentalists, and radicals must stand up and be counted.

We must take to the streets to resist this governments attack on workers, beneficiaries, trade unions, and the environment. We must defend Te Tiriti o Waitangi, Māori rights and our precious and unique Taonga.

Join the Green Party, get involved in this democratic process, and vote for a radical alternative to the inequality, austerity and racism offered by the Government. Another Aotearoa Is Possible.”

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