30 Jan 2015

Profile: Russel Norman

12:44 pm on 30 January 2015

Russel Norman has announced he is stepping down as Green Party co-leader after a long career in the party including being finance and climate spokesperson.

Russel Norman.

Russel Norman has been co-leader since 2006. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

Born in Brisbane, Australia, Dr Norman moved to New Zealand in 1997, where he wrote his political science PhD thesis on the Alliance coalition.

At the same time, he worked on an organic farm on Waiheke Island as a farmer and gardener and became heavily involved in the Greens, setting up the Waiheke branch.

He later worked for the Greens in Wellington, including as an executive assistant to the MP, Sue Bradford and as campaign manager for the 2005 election.

Dr Norman, 47, ran for co-leader after the sudden death of Rod Donald in 2005.

He won the position in June 2006 at the party's annual general meeting, beating Nandor Tanczos, David Clendon and Mike Ward.

As well as co-leader, Russel Norman is the party's spokesperson on finance and climate change.

Russel Norman stood as the Green Party's candidate for Rongotai in September's election and came third, behind National's Chris Finlayson and the winner, Labour's Annette King.

Dr Norman names his key political victories as forcing the Government to back down on mining on Schedule 4 conservation land, and leading a referendum against asset sales.

The Green Party more than doubled their number of MPs in Parliament during Dr Norman's tenure.

In 2010, Dr Norman made headlines while protesting China's treatment of Tibet during the visit of the then-Vice President of China, Xi Jinping to New Zealand.

Dr Norman laid a complaint of assault with the police after he had his Tibetan flag ripped off him, but the police did not find enough evidence to lay charges.

He has three young children with his partner, Katya Paquin.