15 Sep 2018

Greens announce priorities ahead of PM's future plan speech

3:06 pm on 15 September 2018

The Green Party has its own priority list to tick off in the two years until next election, and it includes matters beyond the party's confidence and supply agreement with Labour.

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Green Party co-leaders Marama Davidson (left) and James Shaw (right) and Green MP Eugenie Sage (centre) at the party's AGM last month. Photo: Green Party

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is outlining the government's next steps and future plan in a speech in Auckland tomorrow.

Leaders of all government parties will be there - the Greens' co-leaders, Marama Davidson and James Shaw, as well as the deputy Prime Minister and leader of New Zealand First, Winston Peters.

But Ms Davidson's beaten Ms Ardern to the punch, revealing the Greens' priorities first.

It includes a big push to continue the work of former Green co-leader Metiria Turei. She announced plans to overhaul the welfare system and change the way New Zealand provides a safety net for those who need it, shortly before her own admission to benefit fraud ultimately caused her to resign from Parliament.

Ms Davidson said that was a "massive priority" for them, and that they were "starting and have got more things to announce."

She said it was about ensuring people could get help, and should not be further judged or punished for trying to seek that help.

"Making sure that our child poverty and child wellbeing work takes into better consideration what we need to be accountable for, making sure that our home building standards are the strongest that they can be.

"We have never had a better opportunity than now, to really push for these progressive changes. We are in a government that is listening, and we're at the table in the negotiation rooms with the department advisors, with the ministers, and our influence is making a difference every single day in what comes out of this government."

The Greens' priority list includes securing a rental warrant of fitness and ensuring property owners and managers are abiding by any changes.

"What I'd like to see is the government having some clear enforcement for those minimum standards and that government leads that work. How we have those independent inspectors is up for debate and how we actually resource that.

"But the real issue is, homes need to be safe, and they need to be checked off as being safe before they go ahead on the rental market."

Ms Davidson also wants to save te reo Māori, and ensure more is done for mental health and addiction beyond the pilot outlined in the Greens' deal with Labour.

She said the waiting lists for youth, Māori and Pasifika, were still too long and that was "simply not acceptable."

"What we actually need is beyond a pilot, we need to make sure that all around the country mental health and addiction services and so on are properly available and accessible and resourced.

"There's a dire situation in our communities for people who really need that support. That's the Greens' role, to keep pushing hard because New Zealanders understand that we are at crisis point and things need to change."

They will also continue their work on water, remaining strong on standards for water quality, but also ensuring community and iwi concerns are taken into account when decisions are made in the area.

The party made headway on that, and the matter of waste - because "there is no magic 'away place'" Ms Davidson said - at the annual party conference in Palmerston North last month.

The Green co-leader said their first year in government was only the beginning, and they had got two more to secure all of these wins from here.

Wearing a 'Free Palestine' t-shirt on Friday, Ms Davidson said the party would not be staying silent on human rights matters either.

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