web analytics

Jeanette Fitzsimons answers your questions

Written By: - Date published: 9:27 am, April 14th, 2008 - 14 comments
Categories: greens, interview - Tags: ,

leaders450.jpg

We’re really pleased to have Jeanette Fitzsimons respond to your questions as part of our Interview the Leaders series.

Question to all leaders:

Of which of your achievements in politics are you most proud?

Well, there are so many! But probably the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act 2000 and the work I have done leading the development of the Strategy under that Act over the last two years. Consumers have saved $148 million on their power bills (and a heap of carbon emissions) so far as a result of energy performance standards for household appliances and that total grows every year. EECA was about to be killed by the National government in 1999 but instead it has continued to insulate tens of thousands of homes, making those families healthier, and helped business to save well over $100 million in energy costs and hundreds of thousands of tonnes of carbon emissions, making them more profitable. The new Strategy sets fuel economy standards for cars entering the country that will see them 25% better in 2015 than now. It has achieved, and will achieve, far more in carbon savings than the Emissions Trading Scheme at less cost, and it prepares us to cope with peak oil, constant price rises, fuel poverty, and the growing threat of climate change.

It’s hard to know whether that is more or less important than the culture change I believe the Greens have achieved in Parliament and in the community. There are just so many issues that had never been recognized in Parliament until we spoke about them: the risks of genetic engineering, climate change, peak oil, unhealthy food, and the stupidity of our economic measurements that value only the size of our economy, not its quality, and count as success every extra dollar we have to spend on dealing with pollution, waste, crime, accidents and other social harm. We have also led the debate on human rights, violence against children, restorative justice and the need for much better public transport.

From reader Robinsod: “If the Greens had the opportunity to implement one core policy without compromise what would it be?”

An economic package to shift our economy towards sustainability. It would help create a society that can weather the severe shocks that are coming from climate change and peak oil and ecological collapse, eg of the oceans, and make sure the brunt of these is not borne by the weakest and most vulnerable New Zealanders.

It would include a nationally agreed measurement of economic success that counted human wellbeing such as levels of health and education, reduction of homelessness, reduction of infant mortality, the safety of our rivers for swimming, accessibility of public transport, reduction of working hours needed to provide for a family to give more work-life balance. It would also include measurements of ecological sustainability such as the proportion of renewable energy and transport fuel, the state of our fisheries, the health of our soils and freshwaters. It would show us very clearly whether we were consuming our ecological capital and leaving future generations in need. The size of our GDP would be one measure among many, and not the only measure of success as it is now.

We cannot manage what we don’t measure; moving towards sustainability starts with collecting the right data and measuring the things that really matter.

Part of this package, and resulting from these new measures, would be shifts in the tax system to reduce tax on the things we want to encourage like honest work, innovative and sustainable entrepreneurial activity; and to increase it on those things we wish to discourage like waste, pollution, scarce and overused resources and unearned income.

This would provide a strong incentive to business to shift production into sustainable products and services, and an incentive to individuals to buy healthy, sustainable products that won’t cost the earth. Anything less means our claims of sustainability are just greenwash

From reader Insider: “You and the green movement has been politically active for nearly 40 years, yet still gain only marginal support (both here and overseas). What is holding you back from greater electoral success (if that is an objective) and what lessons have you learned from that?”

While MMP was a huge step forward and led to the first Greens in Parliament in 1996, after 25 years of political activity, it is taking a long time for the media to start thinking past just two old parties. We are still interviewed far more often on which party we would support in government than on our policies and how we have changed the political agenda. This of course guides public perceptions too.

Then there’s the question of honesty. Other parties tell voters they can have tax cuts and improved services as well, they can fix climate change by changing one light bulb, that no-one in NZ is in poverty, that our fisheries are managed sustainably, that peak oil is still several decades away. The media rarely critique these reassurances so of course they are popular.

We think the public will come to appreciate the fact that we tell the truth, but of course there are a lot of powerful vested interests who want to keep the status quo.

Green parties overseas have done best when there has been a crisis like the dioxin-contaminated Belgian chocolates which led to 20% for the Greens. I really hope it won’t take that to build our vote in NZ.

We have shifted the debate in New Zealand, and everyone now wants to be sustainable, but just not yet.

Surveys show that we are most voters’ preferred coalition partner, regardless of who is leading the government. But if that’s what they want, they need to vote for us because it won’t just happen.

This year there is a strong mood for change in politics. It would be a tragedy if voters thought only about change in leaders; putting a strong group of Greens in a position of influence would also change the Government.

14 comments on “Jeanette Fitzsimons answers your questions ”

  1. AndrewE 1

    What happened to the answer to the last question? Too difficult?

  2. IrishBill 2

    Whoops! I’ve fixed it.

  3. outofbed 3

    Jeanette is right, if you want a change of government, vote Green
    The National Party and the Labour party policies are basically the same.
    There is as Jeannette says, a need to change the way we measure success in NZ. Not just the size of the GDP.
    Lots of milk powder but with rivers you can’t swim in.

    Or maybe the ability to watch over produced ads of a beautiful clean green New Zealand on our 60″ plasma tv’s is enough?

  4. Steve Pierson 4

    The Greens’ biggest success has been in dragging the political debate into green territory but it is a shame they have not been able to achieve more directly through winning more votes and getting into Cabinet.

  5. Santi 5

    “.. it is a shame the Grens have not been able to achieve more directly through winning more votes and getting into Cabinet.”

    In the words of an atheist, thank God for that!

  6. Ari 6

    Santi- the only actually POLICY disagreement I’ve seen with anything the Greens implemented is the whole s59 thing. I don’t get people who think that somehow the country will go to pot if we have Green ministers. United Future and New Zealand First haven’t managed to implode the country, despite both holding pretty critical ministries.

    I liked Jeanette’s answer to Robinsod’s question in terms of the Greens actually being honest with their politics, and focusing on policy. If the media would actually cover half of the press releases the Greens put out, I don’t doubt they’d be doing much better in Parliament. The Greens have been talking a lot, it’s a matter of the newspapers not passing on the message because they’re actually being honest, not trying to stir controversy.

    The dig about unearned income in reply to your general question is a bit interesting though. Do you think she’s still talking about companies that pollute and waste in that bit, or is there something else going on there?

  7. Stephen 7

    Coincidentally No Right Turn has a post on the lack of attention to policy the minor parties get that Jeanette alluded to http://norightturn.blogspot.com/2008/04/convergence-and-crossover.html

    Can’t wait for the release of tax policy from the Greens, will *hopefully* be very innovative, pity about the demise of the carbon tax though – they wanted to reduce income tax as a result…

  8. An economic package to shift our economy towards sustainability. It would help create a society that can weather the severe shocks that are coming from climate change and peak oil and ecological collapse, eg of the oceans, and make sure the brunt of these is not borne by the weakest and most vulnerable New Zealanders.

    Well that sounds nice, but really Jeanette, where is the policy which actually shows how this is to be done? Everyone wants a good, stable economy which benefits everyone (a economy based on sustainability) would be perfect – but the devil is in the detail; something of which the Greens continue to lack.

    All they ever produce is idealistic notions with nothing to back it up. They’re a weak party who generate votes based on their idealism that the world would be perfect if we only ate raw carrots and communicated with whale song.

    And of course all the Greenies will love it as one would expect them too. But the pragmatic, ordinary public will sigh and sign their vote to some other party whose policy is far stronger than the whiffling marijuana haze that perpetuates the offices of the Greens.

  9. Stephen 10

    Hoolian, get off you arse and stop waiting for TVNZ to give you policy details!

    Some people really need to grow up about the marijuana issue too!

  10. even 11

    Ms. Fitzsimons is right that Green policys, rational, record and consistency should be put under the micro-scope and examined from all sides for the population of New Zealand.

    And that standard should be applied to all parties, not just those that are card carrying members of the mainstream media.

    Democrats for Social Credit, (DSC 08)

  11. Hoolian 12

    Hoolian, get off you arse and stop waiting for TVNZ to give you policy details!

    Well thank you for your blind assumptions. Right back at you. Due to the fact that I studied political science for four years in both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, I regard myself as having a higher understanding of politics than the average Kiwi. And yet, despite all that, there is little the Greens say that is actually pragmatic, practical or sensible. In fact the Greens rarely say anything at all that is worth printing.

    I reiterate the Greens are all ideology and idealism, with not an ounce of pragmatism or practicality among them. That is why they will never be a force to reckon with and as soon as Clark is gone, so too will the unnatural levels of influence that Fitzsimmons, Bradford and co. exhibit over the House.

    Believe me, I’ve sought out viable policy options from the Greens and all I’ve found is total romantic nonsense, and I’ve come to expect nothing more.

  12. Edosan 13

    Hoolian, you’re lacking in detail. Could you read through the policy that Mr Pilott has kindly provided you and point out which bits you consider “all ideology and idealism, with not an ounce of pragmatism or practicality”.
    Nice use of tautology btw.

    Ed.

  13. hoolian is all hot air.

    what would he know about pragmatism, all the is doing is spouting his own dogma, of anti environmentalism and using inuendo and slander instead of detail, fact and examples.

    what part of greens policy don’t you like hoolian? get more specific.

    you are pretty vague for a so called student, you sure you didnt study where the immigration boss got her ‘qualifications’?

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Next steps for Christchurch Hospital campus redevelopment
    Canterbury DHB will be better placed to respond to future demand for services and continue to deliver high quality care, with the next stage of the campus redevelopment programme confirmed, Health Minister Andrew Little says. The Government has approved $154 million in funding for the construction of a third tower ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Five Power Defence Arrangements Defence Ministers’ Joint Statement
    The Defence Ministers from Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and United Kingdom reaffirmed their nations’ continued commitment to the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA), and commended the achievements over the past 49 years as the FPDA moves towards its 50th Anniversary in 2021.  The Ministers recognised the FPDA’s significant role ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Jobs for Nature funding protects health of Hawke’s Bay waterways
    A joint Government and Hawke’s Bay Regional Council project will invest $4.2 million to protect local waterways, enhance biodiversity and employ local people, Environment Minister David Parker announced today.   Over two years, the Hāpara Takatū Jobs for Nature project will fence 195km of private land to exclude stock from vulnerable ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • New Year border exception for seasonal workers in the horticulture and wine industries
    2000 additional RSE workers to enter New Zealand early next year employers must pay these workers at least $22.10 an hour employers will cover costs of managed isolation for the RSE workers RSE workers will be paid the equivalent of 30 hours work a week while in isolation From January ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government increases support for New Zealanders to work in seasonal jobs
    The Government is offering further financial support for unemployed New Zealanders to take on seasonal work. These new incentives include: Up to $200 per week for accommodation costs $1000 incentive payment for workers who complete jobs of six weeks or longer increasing wet weather payments when people can’t work to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government receives Royal Commission of Inquiry report into the Terrorist Attack on Christchurch Mos...
    Minister for Internal Affairs Jan Tinetti has today received the Royal Commission of Inquiry report into the Terrorist Attack on Christchurch Mosques, and will table it in Parliament on Tuesday December 8. “I know this will have been a challenging process for whānau, survivors and witnesses of the terrorist attack ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand Government to declare a climate emergency
    The Government will declare a climate emergency next week, Climate Change Minister James Shaw said today.                                       “We are in the midst of a climate crisis that will impact on nearly every ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Call for urgent action on Pacific conservation
    A declaration on the urgency of the global biodiversity crisis and the need for immediate, transformative action in the Pacific was agreed at a pan-Pacific conference today. The 10th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas is taking place this week across the Pacific.  Minister of Conservation Kiritapu ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Speech from the throne
    E aku hoa i te ara o te whai, Kia kotahi tā tātou takahi i te kō, ko tōku whiwhi kei tō koutou tautoko mai. Ko tāku ki a koutou, hei whakapiki manawa mōku. He horomata rangatira te mahi, e rite ai te whiwhinga a te ringatuku, me te ringakape ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Keynote address to Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand conference
    Speech to the CAANZ conference - November 19, 2020 Thank you, Greg, (Greg Haddon, MC) for the welcome. I’d like to acknowledge John Cuthbertson from CAANZ, the Commissioner of Inland Revenue Naomi Ferguson, former fellow MP and former Minister of Revenue, Peter Dunne, other guest speakers and CAANZ members. I ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Expert independent advisory group appointed to strengthen the future of Māori broadcasting
    A panel of seven experts are adding their support to help shape the future of Māori broadcasting, Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson has announced today. “Today I will meet with some of the most experienced Māori broadcasters, commentators and practitioners in the field. They have practical insights on the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government to review housing settings
    New Zealand’s stronger-than-expected economic performance has flowed through to housing demand, so the Government will review housing settings to improve access to the market, the Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “Our focus is on improving access to the housing market for first home buyers and ensuring house price growth ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Crown accounts reflect Govt’s careful economic management
    The better-than-expected Crown accounts released today show the Government’s careful management of the COVID-19 health crisis was the right approach to support the economy. As expected, the Crown accounts for the year to June 2020 show the operating balance before gains and losses, or OBEGAL, was in deficit. However that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Community launch marks next step in addressing racism in education
    The launch of Te Hurihanganui in Porirua today is another important milestone in the work needed to address racism in the education system and improve outcomes for Māori learners and their whānau, Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis says. Budget 2019 included $42 million over three years to put Te Hurihanganui ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government to consider recommendations on DNA use in criminal investigations
    The Minister of Justice has received the Law Commission’s recommending changes to the law governing the way DNA is used in criminal investigations. The report, called The Use of DNA in Criminal Investigations – Te Whahamahi I te Ira Tangata I ngā Mātai Taihara, recommends new legislation to address how ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Speech to Wakatū Nelson regional hui on trade
    First, I want to express my thanks to Te Taumata for this hui and for all the fantastic work you are doing for Māori in the trade space. In the short time that you’ve been operating you’ve already contributed an enormous amount to the conversation, and developed impressive networks.  I ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Speech to Primary Industries Summit
    Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today about the significant contribution the food and fibres sector makes to New Zealand and how this Government is supporting that effort. I’d like to start by acknowledging our co-Chairs, Terry Copeland and Mavis Mullins, my colleague, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Fast track referrals will speed up recovery and boost jobs and home building
    The Government is taking action to increase jobs, speed up the economic recovery and build houses by putting three more projects through its fast track approval process. “It’s great to see that the fast-track consenting process is working. Today we have referred a mix of potential projects that, if approved, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Papakāinga provides critically needed homes in Hastings
    A papakāinga opened today by the Minister for Māori Development the Hon Willie Jackson will provide whānau with much needed affordable rental homes in Hastings. The four home papakāinga in Waiōhiki is the first project to be completed under the ‘Hastings Place Based’ initiative. This initiative is a Government, Hastings ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • New Zealand ready to host APEC virtually
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern took over the leadership of APEC earlier today, when she joined leaders from the 21 APEC economies virtually for the forum’s final 2020 meeting. “We look forward to hosting a fully virtual APEC 2021 next year. While this isn’t an in-person meeting, it will be one ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Revival of Māori Horticulturists
    The rapid revival of Māori horticulture was unmistakeable at this year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy Awards, with 2020 marking the first time this iconic Māori farming event was dedicated to horticulture enterprises. Congratulating finalists at the Awards, Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson said growing large-scale māra kai is part of Māori DNA. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Emergency benefit to help temporary visa holders
    From 1 December, people on temporary work, student or visitor visas who can’t return home and or support themselves may get an Emergency Benefit from the Ministry of Social Development, Social Development and Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced today. Previously, temporary visa holders in hardship because of COVID-19 have had ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • School sustainability projects to help boost regional economies
    Forty one schools from the Far North to Southland will receive funding for projects that will reduce schools’ emissions and save them money, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. This is the second round of the Sustainability Contestable Fund, and work will begin immediately. The first round announced in April ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Farmer-led projects to improve water health in Canterbury and Otago
    More than $6 million will be spent on helping farmers improve the health of rivers, wetlands, and habitat biodiversity in Canterbury and Otago, as well as improving long-term land management practices, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. Four farmer-led catchment group Jobs for Nature projects have between allocated between $176,000 and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tupu Aotearoa continues expansion to Pacific communities in Nelson, Marlborough, Tasman & Northl...
    Pacific communities in Nelson, Marlborough, Tasman and Northland will benefit from the expansion of the Tupu Aotearoa programme announced today by the Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio. The programme provides sustainable employment and education pathways and will be delivered in partnership with three providers in Northland and two ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New primary school and classrooms for 1,200 students in South Island
    Education Minister Chris Hipkins unveiled major school building projects across the South Island during a visit to Waimea College in Nelson today. It’s part of the Government’s latest investment of $164 million to build new classrooms and upgrade schools around the country. “Investments like this gives the construction industry certainty ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Minister of Māori Development pays tribute to Rudy Taylor
      Today the Minister of Māori Development, alongside other Government Ministers and MP’s said their final farewells to Nga Puhi Leader Rudy Taylor.  “Rudy dedicated his life to the betterment of Māori, and his strong approach was always from the ground up, grassroots, sincere and unfaltering”  “Over the past few ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister to attend APEC Leaders’ Summit
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will attend the annual APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting and associated events virtually today and tomorrow. “In a world where we cannot travel due to COVID-19, continuing close collaboration with our regional partners is key to accelerating New Zealand’s economic recovery,” Jacinda Ardern said. “There is wide ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech to Infrastructure NZ Symposium
    Tena Koutou, Tena Koutou and thank you for inviting me to speak to you today. This is a critical time for New Zealand as we respond to the damage wreaked by the global COVID-19 pandemic. It is vital that investment in our economic recovery is well thought through, and makes ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pike River 10 Year Anniversary Commemorative Service
    Tēnei te mihi ki a tātau katoa e huihui nei i tēnei rā Ki a koutou ngā whānau o te hunga kua riro i kōnei – he mihi aroha ki a koutou Ki te hapori whānui – tēnā koutou Ki ngā tāngata whenua – tēnā koutou Ki ngā mate, e ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Huge investment in new and upgraded classrooms to boost construction jobs
    Around 7,500 students are set to benefit from the Government’s latest investment of $164 million to build new classrooms and upgrade schools around the country. “The election delivered a clear mandate to accelerate our economic recovery and build back better. That’s why we are prioritising construction projects in schools so more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Keeping Pike River Mine promises 10 years on
    Ten years after the Pike River Mine tragedy in which 29 men lost their lives while at work, a commemorative service at Parliament has honoured them and their legacy of ensuring all New Zealand workplaces are safe. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern attended the event, along with representatives of the Pike ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Additional testing to strengthen border and increase safety of workers
    New testing measures are being put in place to increase the safety of border workers and further strengthen New Zealand’s barriers against COVID-19, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “These strengthened rules – to apply to all international airports and ports – build on the mandatory testing orders we’ve ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • More public housing delivered in Auckland
    The Government’s investment in public housing is delivering more warm, dry homes with today’s official opening of 82 new apartments in New Lynn by the Housing Minister Megan Woods. The Thom Street development replaces 16 houses built in the 1940s, with brand new fit-for-purpose public housing that is in high ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Agreement advanced to purchase up to 5 million COVID-19 vaccines
    The Government has confirmed an in-principle agreement to purchase up to 5 million COVID-19 vaccines – enough for 5 million people – from Janssen Pharmaceutica, subject to the vaccine successfully completing clinical trials and passing regulatory approvals in New Zealand, says Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods. “This agreement ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Jobs for Nature funding will leave a conservation legacy for Waikanae awa
    Ninety-two jobs will be created to help environmental restoration in the Waikanae River catchment through $8.5 million of Jobs for Nature funding, Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan announced today. “The new funding will give a four-year boost to the restoration of the Waikanae awa, and is specifically focussed on restoration through ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Dunedin Hospital project progresses to next stage
    As the new Dunedin Hospital project progresses, the Government is changing the oversight group to provide more technical input, ensure continued local representation, and to make sure lessons learnt from Dunedin benefit other health infrastructure projects around the country. Concept design approval and the release of a tender for early ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Jump in apprentice and trainee numbers
    The number of New Zealanders taking up apprenticeships has increased nearly 50 percent, and the number of female apprentices has more than doubled. This comes as a Government campaign to raise the profile of vocational education and training (VET) begins. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • ReBuilding Nations Symposium 2020 (Infrastructure NZ Conference opening session)
    Tena koutou katoa and thank you for the opportunity to be with you today. Can I acknowledge Ngarimu Blair, Ngati Whatua, and Mayor Phil Goff for the welcome. Before I start with my substantive comments, I do want to acknowledge the hard work it has taken by everyone to ensure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand's biosecurity champions honoured
    Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor has paid tribute to the winners of the 2020 New Zealand Biosecurity Awards. “These are the people and organisations who go above and beyond to protect Aotearoa from pests and disease to ensure our unique way of life is sustained for future generations,” Damien O’Connor says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago