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Greens third party in New Zealand

New Zealand's conservative National Party scored a resounding win in that country's recent election (21 September 2014), earning a third consecutive term in government and winning 60 of the 121 seats in the New Zealand parliament. This means they are one short of a majority but are able to govern with the help of minor parties. New Zealand uses a Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) system of government with a three year parliamentary term, often reliant on coalition arrangements to form governments.

The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand maintained their position as the third largest party, with 10.7% of the vote, and held all 14 of the seats they captured at the last election in 2011. This included welcoming a new Green MP James Shaw, and farewelling former MP Holly Walker who decided to step down before the election.

The Green Party election campaign focused on three core issues; a cleaner environment, fairer society and a smarter economy.  The campaign kicked off in June at the party AGM where the Climate Change policy was launched. This was followed by a series of policy launches, billboards, market stalls, leafletting, phone canvassing and door knocking.

The election coverage in New Zealand was largely focused on revelations in Nicky Hager's book ‘Dirty Politics’ which was released during the campaign and accused National leader and Prime Minister John Key of using dirty tactics and smear campaigns to damage his rivals. This, alongside a newly formed ‘Internet Party’ run by German internet tycoon billionaire ‘Kim Dotcom’ that hosted rave parties across New Zealand’s universities, and a lawsuit from US rapper Eminem against the National Party for ripping off his song, lead  to what most agree was one of the most unusual elections in New Zealand’s recent history.

The big loser was the opposition Labour Party which saw its vote slide by 2.35%, down to just 25%, losing two seats and retaining only 32 seats in the 121 seat parliament. Labour Party leader David Cunliffe resigned, taking responsibility for what he called an "horrific election result", after his party suffered its worst poll defeat in 92 years. Right-wing New Zealand First Party increased its vote by 2% and won an extra three seats making it the fourth biggest party in the parliament with 11 seats.

Green Party co-leader Russell Norman said retaining 14 MP's in an election which swung towards National and other right wing parties was a positive result.

Barry Lowe, Global Greens News team
Claire Waghorn, International Secretary, Green Party of Aoearoa New Zealand

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