Eugenie loves Canterbury’s big skies, its braided rivers, and the mountains of Kā Tiritiri o te Moana/the Southern Alps, which form the spine of Te Wāipounamu/the South Island. She grew up looking at Rangitoto and spent her first 25 years in Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland, where she studied law and history at Auckland University before moving south to study journalism at Canterbury University.
Prior to becoming a Green MP in 2011, and then Minister of Conservation, Land Information and Associate Minister for the Environment (waste) during the Green’s first term in Government from 2017-2020, Eugenie was an elected Regional Councillor with Environment Canterbury. She also worked for Forest & Bird for 13 years, campaigning to protect Tai Poutini/West Coast beech and rimu forests and the South Island high country. She is proud to have been made a Distinguished Life Member by Forest & Bird, and values the huge amount of practical conservation work volunteers do around the country.
Eugenie’s passion for nature and a healthy environment continue to drive her work. As a Green MP and Minister, she advocated for the health of Papatūānuku to be at the heart of our economic response to COVID-19. She played an instrumental role in securing the $1.3 billion Jobs for Nature package to help support people who have lost their jobs; helping DOC rebuild with the largest increase in conservation funding in 16 years; the release of Te Mana o Te Taiao - the Aotearoa New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy; refocusing DOC on nature protection and recreation instead of tourism, and prioritising a commitment to implementing the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi in the management of conservation lands and waters.
As Associate Minister (2017-2020) Eugenie has also led a huge work programme to turn around New Zealand’s rubbish record on waste, including banning single-use plastic bags; designing a container return scheme for beverage containers; expanding and increasing the levy on waste going to landfill; and committing New Zealand to establishing mandatory product stewardship schemes to deal with problem products such as tyres and electronic waste at the end of their life.