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Greens focus on state of the planet

Published: 1:08PM Sunday January 27, 2013 Source: ONE News / Newstalk NZ

The Greens have hosted their own event today, focussing not on the state of the nation but on the state of the planet.

The Party has launched a new campaign aimed at engaging New Zealanders "disillusioned" with the direction of the National Government.

The "I'm in - for the future" campaign was officially launched during the party's annual Picnic for the Planet in Auckland, an event co-leader Russel Norman says appeals to party membership and the general public.

"New Zealanders love the outdoors... this is where politics should be, in the outdoors," he said.

In her 'state of the planet' speech, co-leader Metiria Turei's said the campaign aims to prevent National pushing through controversial policies before the next election, including asset sales and charter schools.

She added that many New Zealanders do not want to join a political party, but still want to have a political voice and get involved.

"This is about building a ground campaign of individual New Zealanders who represent the future, that will be a real challenge to the old wealth and vested interests of the National Party," she said.

A record 14 Green MPs were elected into Parliament in 2011, showing the party is increasingly appealing to mainstream New Zealanders.

"They have a good balance between social policy and economic policy," said one woman attending the picnic.

"They are interested in the future. I'm a mum, I have two little girls, so the future is important for me," said another.

Turei says the Government will fight to win the 2014 election with scaremongering and money, but the Greens "will fight their fear and money with people and passion".

"New Zealanders have shown they have the power to stop the Government when they act together," she said. "We can't wait until 2014 to stop bad change occurring."

Labour leader David Shearer also spoke at an event today, indicating that Labour's main focus this year is jobs.

Prime Minister John Key's state of the nation speech earlier in the week signalled an end to the era of belt tightening and zero budgets, indicating instead that there will be a new focus on growth and investment.