11 Sep 2015

Greens' Russel Norman resigns

10:28 am on 11 September 2015

Former Green Party co-leader Russel Norman has resigned from Parliament to run Greenpeace.

Russel Norman

Russel Norman Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

He will leave Parliament later this year and take the reins as executive director of Greenpeace New Zealand.

Dr Norman will stand down as an MP and as a member of the Green Party in October, before moving to Greenpeace the following month.

The next person on the Green Party list, Marama Davidson, will be sworn in to Parliament as his replacement.

Dr Norman, who stood down as party co-leader at the start of the year, said he was very excited to be joining the Greenpeace team.

"The Earth is our only home and the only way to protect this precious world is if ordinary people come together to do extraordinary things. Greenpeace is a catalyst for those actions and it's where I want to put my energy."

"Greenpeace's political and financial independence, non-violent direct action and creative confrontation are enormously attractive to me. It is these values that I believe form the basis of being able to bring about change, and create a better, cleaner, more peaceful world.

Greenpeace New Zealand chairperson Stephanie Mills has welcomed the appointment.

"We're really pleased to say that Russel Norman is going to be the next executive director of Greenpeace New Zealand.

"Some people may be surprised that someone used to sitting inside Parliament is joining an organisation more used to climbing it.

"But, besides Russel's obvious commitment to the environment and his leadership skills, he's got the job because of his optimism and vision, his strong belief that people power is key to bringing about change for the better and his commitment to civil disobedience and direct action as a core part of a healthy, robust democracy."

The Green Party has congratulated its former co-leader on his appointment.

"There are few words that could express how grateful we are to Russel for his incredible contribution to the Green Party," said party co-leader Metiria Turei.

She said that since becoming co-leader in 2006 after the death of Rod Donald, Russel established himself as one of the most effective MPs in the opposition.

"He was a constant thorn in the Government's side, and a passionate voice for the environment, the disadvantaged, and those who want a smarter greener economy."

She credited him with playing a huge role in helping the Greens become the third largest party in Parliament.

The other co-leader, James Shaw, has also paid tribute to Dr Norman.

"Russel's leadership and intellect is regarded across Parliament, but his impact was also felt behind the scenes. He transformed our internal structure at the Greens, helping to create a formidable political machine.

"Russel will be enormously missed, and we wish him all the best for his new job at Greenpeace," said Mr Shaw.

Ms Davidson, of Ngapuhi, Te Rawara and Ngati Porou will become the party's 14th MP.

She has worked at the Human Rights Commission for ten years, and recently worked part-time as the Chief Panellist for the Glenn Inquiry into Domestic Violence and Child Abuse.

Ms Davidson has six children and lives in Manurewa, Auckland.