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Monday, December 7

Green Party turns 10




The Green Party marks the 10th anniversary of its entry to Parliament today

In 1999, special votes counted in the days after the general election saw Green MP Jeanette Fitzsimons win Coromandel and the Party's vote was finalised at just over 5% on the 7th of December. A decade later, the Greens have nine MPs in the House based on 7% of the vote.

"For ten years we've worked on the basis that we love New Zealand and its way of life and we want to protect it," said Green Party co-leader Russel Norman. "We've championed the environment, sought a fair go for every New Zealander and worked to keep the old parties honest. We'll keep fighting for those values and to grow our vote."

The Greens' first piece of legislation was the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act which passed into law in 2000. The act was introduced as a member's bill by Jeanette Fitzsimons in 1998, when she, Rod Donald and Phillida Bunkle were MPs as part of the Alliance.

The Party's most recent legislative achievement was the Employment Relations (Flexible Working Hours) Amendment Bill, a Sue Kedgley member's bill that took effect in 2008 and aims to give parents with young children the chance to negotiate more flexible working arrangements.

"Ten years proves we're a lasting feature of the political landscape in New Zealand," noted Dr Norman. "We've been around long enough to see a second generation of MPs start to join our caucus. There are new faces and new energy, but the same values."

Among the Party's accomplishments over the last decade, Dr Norman said he took particular pride in; the home insulation fund that has upgraded 20,000 New Zealand homes already this year; the Party's negotiation with the then-Labour Government to make electrification of the Auckland rail system possible; and changing the Crimes Act to help keep children safe from violence.