Inclusive Greens: Who we are
Haere mai, welcome to the Inclusive Greens. We are the Green Party's disability network, led by and for everyone within the Green Party who self-identifies as disabled or Deaf, including people living with chronic illness or mental illness or who are neurodiverse.
While the work of our network is led by disabled members, we also welcome the support of non-disabled allies who agree to uphold our kaupapa and respect our leadership. Disability allies can play an important role in supporting our mahi behind the scenes and in making it visible in the wider Party.
Inclusive Greens Committee
At the Inclusive Greens AGM in August 2020, we elected our largest and most engaged committee yet. Here are our committee members and roles as at January 2021.
- Co-convenors: Joe Boon and Áine Kelly-Costello
- Membership secretary: Chris Ford
- Caucus liaison: Robin McCandless
- Representative to the Party Executive: Gordon McKewen
- General committee members: Mojo Mathers, Candace McCabe and Rachel Noble
Participating in the Network
We hold meetings over zoom as needed, approximately every 4-6 weeks. Meetings are NZSL-interpreted and we strive to ensure they are accessible and trusting spaces for us to progress our mahi. We communicate through an active Facebook group and a much quieter email list. Members can choose to be on one or the other or both.
All Network members must be current members of the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. If you wish to join us, we ask that you carefully read and agree to our kaupapa statement below first, then get in touch at [email protected]
Inclusive Greens Kaupapa
The Inclusive Greens aim to be a safe place for us as disabled people to share our perspectives or experiences on any aspect of Green Party participation, policy or politics that connects to disability, access or inclusion. This is our priority. We honour our members' intersecting identities.
Through our leadership, we want to constructively work with members in all areas of the Party to deeply understand and uphold disability rights and strive for full accessibility and inclusion. Our work is founded on the Green Party's charter and values especially honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and our own lived experience. Together, members of our Network form a community with the power to drive political change.
We challenge ableist policies, behaviours and attitudes, including those we've been taught to hold ourselves. We also recognise and challenge racism, xenophobia, classism, homophobia, transphobia, and other forms of harmful thinking. These engrained forms of thinking hurt us as individuals and as a group or collective. Any member not respecting this will first be given constructive feedback by a member of the Inclusive Greens committee and an opportunity to change, but if they persist, then they will be removed from the Network.
Inclusive Greens: History
The Inclusive Greens was founded in the mid 2000s by a small group of disabled Party members who realised that they, and/or family and friends, were finding it difficult to participate within the Party. At the time many key parts of the Party did not recognise the importance of enabling accessibility and as a result disabled members were struggling to have their voice heard on a range of issues.
Founding members of the Inclusive Greens were keen to change attitudes and policies to enable full participation within the party for disabled members. Initially the group kept in touch at Party AGM’s and Policy conferences, and then through a mailing list established in 2005. In 2007, a working group led by Mojo Mathers developed and presented to the AGM a remit that commited the Party to move all offices around the country to physically accessible premises. This remit provoked intense debate across the party around the need for such a step as many members were attached to the old inaccessible offices. Eventually the working group secured the support of the party executive which opened the way for the remit to be passed at the 2007 AGM by consensus. Within two years all Green Party offices around the country, including the National office in Wellington, were shifted to accessible premises, a significant undertaking. Following this work, Mojo would go on to become NZ’s first Deaf MP in 2011 and was the Green Party disability spokesperson from 2011-2017.
The Network grew steadily over the years, setting up a facebook group in 2016. In 2019, Inclusive Greens member Áine Kelly-Costello led the work to develop and present another AGM remit that secured the Inclusive Greens an official representative on the Party Executive, with the mandate to ensure that issues around accessibility and inclusion are kept front of mind for all party initiatives.
In 2020, the Election Access Fund bill, originally drafted by Mojo Mathers in 2017 and championed by Green MP Chloe Swarbrick, was passed into law with unanimous support from all political parties. This fund, which covers disability related costs of standing as a candidate, will be in place for the 2023 General Election. The Inclusive Greens are keen to support aspiring disabled candidates to stand for election at both local body and general elections.