INDEPENDENT NEWS

Greens Close Campaign With COVID-19 Recovery Pitch

Published: Wed 14 Oct 2020 06:13 PM
The Green Party says a Green-Labour partnership next term is the only way to ensure that we build back better than before, whilst addressing the other crises of biodiversity, climate change and poverty.
Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson said today:
“Throughout COVID-19, the Green Party has urged New Zealand to listen to science, health experts, and Māori and Pacific leadership.
“We have amplified the official advice to keep us all safe, and called out those drawing on peoples’ fear to score political points.
“As the election nears, we have an incredibly important decision to make about who we want guiding our immediate response, and our long-term decision-making.
“During COVID-19 the Green Party ensured greater protections for vulnerable people, additional support for those earning the least, and pushed for Māori and Pāsefika leadership in decision-making.
“It’s essential we remain at the table, so all of our communities’ needs are taken into account.”
Green Party co-leader James Shaw said today:
“We are rightfully bringing forward huge spending to pay for our response to the COVID-19 crisis. We have a responsibility to ensure this spending also deals with the long-term issues that we, and future generations, will face.
“The climate change, biodiversity and inequality crises existed well before COVID-19. Now is the best chance we’ll get to tackle these challenges, but to make that happen, the Greens must be a part of the next Government.
“Our bold ideas would create a resilient Aotearoa which is better placed to withstand the twists and turns of the future.
“The policies being put forward by the Greens, like our Poverty Action, Clean Energy and Homes for All plans, recognise the unique circumstances of COVID-19 and the need to create jobs, while also addressing the underlying crises we face.
“These bold plans are what we will bring to the negotiating table if we get the numbers on election night.
“The best way to ensure Labour prioritises climate action and the environment, while ensuring everyone has what they need, is by supporting the Green Party.
“Once again we’re asking New Zealanders to Think Ahead.”Speech by co-leader James Shaw
Kia ora koutou katoa.
Welcome!
And thank you – everyone – for joining us today as we bring to a close what has been a truly extraordinary campaign…
During an extraordinary year.
COVID-19 has changed everything.
Our day to day lives have looked awfully different over the past six months, amid lock-downs and ongoing restrictions to protect public health.
But the fact that we are able to be here today, together, to wrap up our campaign, shows just how well we have done as a country.
That success is all of ours to share.
But we cannot take anything for granted.
In three days’ time, you have an incredibly important decision to make.
Of course, every three years people like me get up and tell you that, “this election is critical! And we need your support!”
But this election really is critical!
Because the decisions that the next Parliament, and the next Government make, will be orders of magnitude more significant and far-reaching than even the very significant decisions that government makes when there isn’t a global pandemic!
The next government will not only determine how effectively we manage COVID-19, it will shape the destiny of this country for decades to come.
***
Today, Marama and I will be outlining the Green response to COVID-19 – in the short-term, and well beyond.
And why it is absolutely vital that the Green Party are part of the next Government.
***
Throughout COVID-19, the Green Party has backed our health experts.
We’ve listened to the science.
And we’ve worked to ensure that our communities have what they need to get through.
We have some big decisions to make over the coming months.
These decisions must be made on the basis of the same expert advice which have allowed us to return to some semblance of normality – in stark contrast to most other countries on Earth.
As much as other parties attempt to make it so – these are not political decisions.
They are health decisions.
Aotearoa needs people at the helm of the next Government who are willing to listen to experts and do what’s required to keep us safe.
The Labour-Green response to COVID-19 has proven that we are the partnership that will do just that.
Jacinda Ardern’s leadership has been exemplary.
Working as part of the Government, we also pushed hard to make sure no one was left behind in the rush to respond.
Whether it was getting more funding to family and sexual violence services to better match the struggles of families during the pandemic…
Or getting a six-month freeze on residential rent increases…
Or making sure we don’t make climate change worse in the rush to get economic recovery projects going…
Or securing $1.3 billion in Jobs for Nature, so that our economic recovery also helps our wild places and our native birds to recover too…
The Greens took a stand for our long-term future as we dealt with the near-term crisis.
But the importance of this election goes well beyond the current crisis.
Right now, as a country, we are investing enormous sums of money in preventing what would otherwise be the deepest recession in a century.
The reality is that we are not going to see this kind of upfront investment in our communities, again, anytime soon.
So we have both an extraordinary opportunity and a great responsibility.
If we make good choices now, then in the years to come, we will be able to reflect on this time and say that we shaped this crisis and took from it some lasting good for our country.
And that we did that, by addressing the long-term crises which existed well before COVID-19 came to our shores…
Like the climate crisis, which puts all of our futures at risk…
Like the biodiversity crisis, which threatens our dawn chorus and our native wildlife…
And the crisis of deepening poverty in Aotearoa.
At this election, I can confidently say that the Green Party is the only party putting forward proposals that are actually bold enough to meet the scale of the challenges we face…
That actually do ensure that we ‘build back better’ after COVID-19 than we were before.
We know we need to spend to stimulate the economy and get us through this crisis.
But we need to spend wisely and to think ahead.
Which is why the Green Party would build fast, inter-city rail connecting our cities to the regions…
And why we would create reliable public transport systems, which are affordable and accessible to everyone…
And why we would invest in getting rooftop solar and batteries into every state-owned home across Aotearoa.
We know we need to create jobs for the post COVID-19 world.
Our plan does that.
But our plan not only creates jobs for the post-COVID-19 world, it also creates jobs for the post-carbon world.
Anything less would be utterly irresponsible towards future generations.
This is our chance!
Our chance to give future generations a liveable planet.
A living environment.
And a living wage!
These priorities are not separate to the COVID-19 response.
They are the COVID-19 response!
And this Saturday, you can make it happen!
***
Thank you! And now – with more – here is my co-leader, Marama Davidson!Speech by co-leader Marama Davidson
Kia ora, thank you.
As James rightly said, this is the most important election that any of us have experienced in decades.
This campaign at times has brought out the worst in some political parties.
Instead of a contest of ideas, they’ve sought to make it a contest of fear and disinformation.
It has become alarmingly clear that the priority of National, and the other smaller parties, is not to keep us safe.
But to divide us, and to make us scared, in the pursuit of power.
The response of these parties to COVID-19 has made it, in our personal view, inconceivable that we would be able to work together in Government.
Which is why next term, in our opinion, the only possible Government which will ensure people are safe both now and in the future, is a Greens, Labour partnership.
We commend this Government’s handling of COVID-19, and our shared progress this term to make this fairer for our communities, and to better protect our planet and nature.
Labour cannot govern alone.
Unchallenged decisions can mean bad decisions, and with the Greens at the decision making table, we’ll make sure that we truly face the challenges we’ve been ignoring for too long.
The Greens will work productively with Labour to do more for our communities, and for our planet.
As a party, we understand we cannot rebuild the status quo – because the status quo wasn’t working.
And that understanding of the need to do things differently is reflected in our policies.
COVID-19 has not created the inequality in our society, but illuminated it.
The pandemic has affected all of us, but not equally.
Those with the least are suffering the most.
Our COVID-19 plan is grounded in building resilient communities, which can withstand the crises we know about – and those which will come down the line.
The cracks revealed during COVID-19 will be revealed again – so we must fix these inequities now.
We are the only party so far to come up with a plan to redistribute some of the wealth held by the richest in our country, so that the burden of recovery does not fall on the shoulders of those with the least.
So everyone has enough to live a dignified life – especially in the tough times.
The same goes for housing.
A warm, safe, secure home is a health plan. Ensuring people have a roof over their head, and a community around them, is a health response.
So let’s empower community housing organisations to create long-term non-profit rental homes, where families can put down roots and thrive.
While continuing to build more warm, dry and safe homes for whānau to live in.
Let’s think ahead, and take action to move to clean energy, by installing solar on the roofs of homes around Aotearoa, and offering grants to empower communities to be a part of a sustainable future.
Let’s transform farming from one of the drivers of climate change, to one of the biggest solutions, by creating funding for farmers to transition to sustainable practices.
Let’s protect our moana by placing a third of our oceans into marine protected areas.
Let’s connect our regions to the major centres, and create thousands of jobs, by building reliable, fast inter-city rail throughout Aotearoa.
And let’s ban new industrial coal boilers straight off the bat, and phase out coal by 2030.
These policies are our vision, and they are what we will bring with us to the negotiating table if we get the numbers to do so.
And that’s where you come in.
The more support the Greens get, the bolder Labour will be.
A strong Green voice means we will do more to ensure our grandchildren have a stable planet to live on, and that they can enjoy our precious environment.
That everyone has what they need.
Underlying all of that, the Greens know that upholding te Tiriti o Waitangi, and tino rangatiratanga for iwi and hapū is essential to a stable climate, healthy nature, and taking care of everyone.
The Greens in Government have done more for climate action in one term of government than the last three decades of governments combined – all while addressing inequality and protecting our environment.
But we must go further and faster, especially in our response to COVID-19.
Think ahead, for your mokopuna, and Party Vote Green.

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