The Green Party and the National Party are working together to implement a nationwide home insulation programme and to update New Zealand's energy efficiency strategy, while the Parties have also agreed to develop a New Zealand based regulatory system for natural health products.
The shared policy initiatives are the first to result from a new working relationship between the Green Party and National announced today.
"This is a chance to get more New Zealanders into healthy homes and to make our country more energy efficient generally," said Green Party co-leader Russel Norman. "We are also taking some very practical steps to make sure Kiwis can trust that the health products on their shelves are in fact safe.
"These are core Green issues with far-reaching consequences for the health and well-being of the country and our economy. We welcome the chance to work with National in these areas of common interest."
Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons will share her policy experience with Minister of Energy Gerry Brownlee to finalise the home insulation fund that will take effect by July of this year. The programme will target private homes that are rented or owned by New Zealanders. State housing insulation is already funded under a 2008 Budget bid initiated by the Green Party.
"Home insulation will make a big difference to New Zealanders' power bills and to their health," Ms Fitzsimons said. "We have worked on this initiative for a number of years and are glad to see it become a reality."
The insulation work was also a good example of a Green New Deal-style investment, the Green Party Co-Leader noted: "It's job-intensive work, so we get a double dividend with this type of Government spending. It tackles the economic crisis and the climate crisis at the same time."
The bi-partisan working relationship also extends to natural health products. Green MP Sue Kedgley will work with the Minister of Health Tony Ryall and Associate Minister Jonathan Coleman to develop a regulatory system that is specific to New Zealand, rather than the trans-Tasman model that had been proposed by the previous government."
"We want to develop a cost effective, New Zealand based regulatory system that will give New Zealanders confidence that the natural health products they buy are safe and true to label," Ms Kedgley said.
The three initiatives are the first fruits of a working relationship forged by the Green and National Parties and formalised in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed today.
The MOU laid out basic ground rules for the two parties to work together, Dr Norman said: "The Green Party's independence is clearly stated, and while we expect there'll be further areas of common interest, we also reserve the right to be constructively critical wherever we disagree.
"This has been our position since before the election. Our differences ruled out a confidence and supply arrangement, but we are committed to work co-operatively with National where possible. Pragmatism and principle are both important to our voters.''