Aspirations centred in coalition

Green Party co-leader James Shaw speaks at the party's annual meeting in the St David lecture...
Green Party co-leader James Shaw speaks at the party's annual meeting in the St David lecture theatre on Saturday afternoon. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
Green Party co-leaders Marama Davidson and James Shaw have proclaimed the party's annual general meeting, held in Dunedin over the weekend, as a success despite some members claiming the party had become too moderate during its time in government.

The most public airing of dissent came from Jack McDonald, a former party policy co-convener and number 11 on the party's list for the 2017 election, who via Twitter cited a "centrist drift" in the party as a reason for his decision to step away from parliamentary politics - although he remained a party member.

Ms Davidson said MPs could not expect all party members to have a deep understanding of the work MPs did.

"But from what I can see we have been getting a really good reception ... it has been neat to remind ourselves and our members of all the things that we have done, but this only because we want to go further and faster.

"It is important for all our members to continue to have high aspirations."

Mr Shaw said he was delighted with how the AGM went.

"These opportunities only come along once a year and it's a chance to reconnect with our members, let them know about some of the work that they may not have heard of through the media, and to gear up for what's next."

Mr Shaw spoke to the AGM on Saturday, and announced a cross-government climate action plan.

The plan, the Government's response to the 2018 report by the Productivity Commission about how to achieve a low emissions economy, would see major changes across all sectors to reduce New Zealand's production of greenhouse gases, Mr Shaw said.

"This is a massive work programme right across government that will run for many years.

"It will lead to fundamental changes to how we get around our cities, how we heat our homes, how we farm, and how we dispose of waste."

Key features of the plan included policies to increase uptake of low emission and electric vehicles; investment in research and development on ways to reduce agricultural sector emissions and moving towards 100% renewable electricity generation.

Mr Shaw also defended the rate of progress being made by the Greens in terms of achieving its goals, and said there were processes that lawmakers had to observe.

"It is appropriate decision-making and ensuring that people that are affected by that decision are involved in the making of that decision and government consultation processes are a part of that.

"It does mean that things take time but generally, as we have seen with agricultural leaders, if you do engage with them then you can make progress."

Yesterday, Ms Davidson devoted her speech to housing, with a focus on pushing for the party's "rent to buy" schemes - part of the confidence and supply agreement between the Green Party and Labour - to be part of the pending reset of the KiwiBuild housing programme.

"Rent-to-own is a simple solution that has been tried and tested overseas, and on a small scale here in New Zealand, by community providers such as the Housing Foundation and Habitat for Humanity," Ms Davidson said.

"We know that rent to own, done at scale, can be a game-changer for Aotearoa."

The party would also seek reforms to the Residential Tenancies Act, and a mandatory warrant of fitness for rental homes, she said.

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