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State of the Planet speech 2013

Our challenge is to build a movement of like-minded New Zealanders who share our vision for a better future. And that work starts today. If we want to change the world we need to build the political machine to deliver it.

E rere haere ana ōku mihi ki ngā tangata whenua o tēnēi rohe, ki Ngāti Whātua. He tino nui tō manaakitanga ki a mātou i tēnēi rā.

Ki te maunga i tū mai nei, Maungawhau, tēna koe.

E kī ana te korero, whāia te iti kahurangi, ki te tuohu koe me he maunga teitei

He hari tō tātou ngākau ki te hui i roto i tēnēi rohe ataahua.

I send my greetings to the people of this land, to Ngāti Whātua. You have shown great hospitality to us today.

Greetings to the mountain that stands here, Maungawhau.

It is said, pursue that which is precious, and do not be deterred by anything less than a lofty mountain.

Our hearts are happy to meet in this beautiful region.

So how great is it to be here under the beautiful Maungawhau? I've spent a lot of time, climbing up and down this maunga, coming here to Tahaki for parties and picnics and late night frolicking.

This maunga has been welcome respite for generations of Māori and Pakeha alike.

Yet, beneath this cool, green surface lies a heart of fire, a powerful force for change waiting to be unleashed.

Today I want to issue a call to action to unleash the passion and the power of the new Aotearoa New Zealand, those who care for our children and their birthright.

There is much to do because our children face real challenges in this 21st century world.

Global Snapshot

The world faces the toughest challenges we have seen in a long time. The effects of the global financial crisis still echo around the world

Income inequality in OECD countries is at its highest level for the past 50 years.

The planet is suffering massive bio-diversity loss. Eco-systems are under more pressure than ever.

The hurt of climate change is biting. Extreme weather events, storms, cyclones, droughts and fires are getting worse.

I want to acknowledge the people of Samoa, Fiji and Australia who have suffered for extreme weather over this summer.

The people of the Pacific can realistically wonder if their islands will even exist in a few years; threatened by a problem they did not create.

It's terrifying.

But the tide is beginning to turn on the destructive thinking that has led to climate change.

Here in New Zealand the will of the people has turned it already.

Successes of 2012

When you elected a record 14 Green MPs into Parliament in 2011, it was the growing Green movement making its voice heard loud and very clear.

In 2012 our new and bigger team held the Government to account and delivered good green change.

We are still working with Government where we can. The home insulation scheme, a truly transformative legacy from Jeanette Fitzsimons, has insulated about 200,000 homes and we are working to continue it.

We have worked to clean up toxic sites throughout Aotearoa New Zealand and have secured $10 million dollars to clean up the old tui mine near Te Aroha.

And we continue to work on Ngā Haerenga, the Aotearoa New Zealand Cycle Trail, 18 Great Rides that will take cyclists through some of Aotearoa New Zealand's most iconic and picturesque country.

But you've also made it clear that the National Government's business-as-usual, lazy thinking is facing extinction. You've made it clear you want us to tackle that old ostrich thinking head on and be a strong opposition to the Government's destructive agenda.

Under National over 40,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost.

So we launched a manufacturing inquiry, with the Labour, New Zealand First and Mana parties. It will report on solutions for working people in Aotearoa this year.

Finding ways to get New Zealanders, especially young New Zealanders, back into work is a critical priority for us this year and unlike the Government we are looking at new ideas to do something about it.

We put child poverty on the political agenda while National blames everyone else but their own indifference for the 270,000 kids trapped in poverty.

We have pressured the New Zealand Superannuation Fund into higher ethical standards. We had the Fund drop mining company Freeport-McMoRan Copper&Gold after Amnesty International reported torture and killings in West Papua by the mining company's security as thousands of mine workers were striking over their wage of less than NZ$2.50 an hour.

We asked the Auditor-General to investigate National's dirty deal with Sky City for a convention centre. It's just plain wrong for John Key to get a convention centre paid for with the crime and misery driven by problem gambling.

We held the Government to account over the privacy debacle at ACC, and forced the authorities to investigate the breaches.

We have made Parliament more accessible for those with disabilities and continue to fight for a genuinely accessible Parliament for all citizens.

The Greens belong to what's been called the 'new majority' - the new consciousness of environmental issues, human rights, fairness and the need for good change.

Green is good, and it's getting bigger and better every day.

The future Aotearoa New Zealand

The future Aotearoa New Zealand will look and feel different to the New Zealand of today.

It will be more ethnically diverse with growing Māori, Pacifica and Asian communities.

It will be older, with more opportunities for older people and more innovative, better educated young New Zealanders than ever.

Our ways of living are changing too.

Women who marry do it later. We work more, parent older, and demand safe homes and relationships.

We are becoming a more tolerant society. While a majority support marriage equality, young New Zealanders do so overwhelmingly. To them the notion that their gay friends and family should be denied their equal rights is unthinkable.

The future Aotearoa New Zealand does not fear diversity - it embraces it.

The future Aotearoa New Zealand values service to our communities and allows everyone to find decent work that pays a living wage.

The future Aotearoa New Zealand doesn't see one person's human rights as a threat to another's.

The environmental challenges and the economic uncertainties that we all face generates a new appreciation of two ideals lost in the last three decades:

• Solidarity - we are all in this together

• Democracy - governing under shared values and through dialogue

These are weft and weave of the fabric of a fair society.

Together they have given us a great school system, fine tertiary institutions, hospitals and community health care, hydropower, roads and trains, communications: the platform for individual achievements, innovation and entrepreneurship.

The political question is; who speaks to this future Aotearoa New Zealand?

To this new, tolerant, diverse majority, to this recognition that we are in this together?

What party speaks to the aspirations of the Aotearoa New Zealand of tomorrow?

The Greens.

The Green Party is an agent of hope for a new Aotearoa New Zealand.

An Aotearoa New Zealand whose smart economy is built from our clean green brand and natural advantages.

An Aotearoa New Zealand that is inclusive and progressive.

An Aotearoa New Zealand where we are environmental champions at home and abroad.

But being just an agent for hope is not enough. We need to back our hope and aspiration with action.

The Greens have always been a thought leader, ahead of the curve on the critical issues of our time. And as a political force we have become better at turning our ideas into action.

At Ratana this week, I announced our Home for Life plan to help families achieve the Kiwi dream of owning their own home, and being more secure in a rental home.

We have offered to New Zealanders a progressive ownership scheme that will get young families on the ladder to home ownership through a deposit and mortgage free rent to own system - affordable and accessible to young families.

We have offered better tenancy security and a warrant of fitness so that those who rent can stay in their homes longer, have greater certainty over rent increases, and know that the homes they pay good money to live in are warm and dry and won't make their kids sick.

We have made the dream of home ownership into a plan of action for whānau, for families.

But no New Zealander will receive the benefits of this housing plan if we don't build community support for it and if we don't get elected.

The challenge I set out today is to redouble our efforts, to make our movement the most effective on the ground political force in Aotearoa New Zealand.

I'm in. Are you?

I'm in - for the future

Today I'm launching our plan to give all Kiwis who care about tomorrow the chance to shape political outcomes today.

Called "I'm in - for the future", the Green Party will offer anyone who wants to, the opportunity to be part of our campaigns to change Aotearoa New Zealand for the better.

Our challenge is to build a movement of like-minded New Zealanders who share our vision for a better future. And that work starts today.

If we want to change the world we need to build the political machine to deliver it.

We will back ideas with action to make them a reality. Just go to www.greens.org.nz and signup. I'm in and I hope you will join me.

Last year 3264 New Zealanders signed up to be Green Party Asset Keepers in the Keep Our Assets campaign. That is 3264 volunteers around the country working to stop asset sales.

Of those, around two thirds were not our members.

This new model of organising, of giving everyone a political voice and the opportunity to support our campaigns is working.

I am proud to say that the Greens have collected over 185,000 Keep Our Assets signatures - more than half of the coalition total despite being the smallest of the coalition partners.

"Im in - for the future" extends this opportunity across all of our campaigns. In 2013 we will back our ideals with our actions.

I'm in. I hope you are too.

In 2013 more people will have a chance to win on the things they care about and that are important to our country.

Our first priority in 2013 is to stop asset sales.

The Keep Our Assets petition is close to completion. We want to collect the remaining signatures by the end of February.

I am asking every Green member and every New Zealander who supports public ownership of our profitable and strategically important power companies to sign up now for one final push to force an asset sales referendum.

Throughout February we have collection events planned around the country. We need more volunteers and helpers.

I'm in, and I need you to join me in getting those last signatures now.

New Zealanders oppose asset sales. The Government is in a mad rush to get rid of two power companies this year. We can build an even stronger public campaign to force a referendum and we will deliver a stinging rebuke to this policy when we vote in a referendum.

But we need your help. The signatures won't magically appear on the petition, the leaflets won't just arrive in letter boxes, the phone calls to coordinate volunteers won't be made unless we are all in together.

And once we stop the Government selling our assets we need to turn our energy to building new ones.

In 2013 another priority will be our campaign to get the CBD rail link in Auckland built.

Yes, we need a Mayor and a council elected in Auckland committed to building the rail link.

But we have that already and the link isn't getting built. We need to build pressure on the Government in Wellington to deliver the public transport Aucklanders want and need.

In 2013 we will campaign for the survival of our public schools. Schools are the hubs of our communities, where the bodies and minds of future New Zealanders are nurtured and set on a path to realise their full potential.

Make no mistake, our schools have never felt so unsupported, so threatened as they do under this Government and this Minister. If the Government keeps attacking schools and kids, they've got a fight on their hands.

2014 is election year.

And the Government is going to fight the 2014 election with fear and money.

They will scare monger about the Greens and they will throw every cent from their very deep pockets so they can stay in power to deliver more of the same failures.

And we will fight their fear and money with people and passion.

What we lack in dollars we will make up for with action.

Conclusion

Our coalition of supporters, dedicated to building a modern and progressive Aotearoa New Zealand will be unstoppable because we will be on the right side of history and represent the best of our country.

The Green Party will offer New Zealanders policies full of opportunities to build a better Aotearoa New Zealand, to give everyone a decent start in life, a good job with a living wage and an abundant environment to be proud of.

Together we are powerful and passionate.

Together, we will build a caring country that honours our past, makes good green change in the present and has our gaze set firmly on the opportunities of the future.

This is a rally cry for a new year, crisp with fresh promise.

So, I'm in - are you?

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