Candidate Kōrero #8: Bridget Walsh

Candidate Korero_2

In the run-up to the NZ election, we are profiling our Green Party candidates and sharing their messages with Kiwis around the world. Today we have  a message from Bridget Walsh, our international candidate.

Current Role:
I’m a touring musician, based mostly between the UK, the USA and Aotearoa. I’m also the founder of a social enterprise and online community for artists and musicians (www.indhe.org) and humbled to have been selected as the International Candidate for the Green Party of Aotearoa. I’ve taken a summer off festivals and shows to focus instead on “political touring”, rallying together overseas-kiwis in cities around the world, and helping to get them ready to #votefromanywhere ❤

My Number One Goal in Government:
My main goal this year is to get as many of my incredibly talented, wise, brave and inspiring friends and colleagues into parliament as possible, by mobilising and uniting our overseas community of kiwis and empowering them to use their voice to vote this year, and help us to change the government. I believe that, if I myself was to be voted into parliament, it would be a really positive sign for the wider Aotearoa community, that someone like me was being brought to the table, given that my background is not terribly typical of those with political aspirations. I am political by nature, and believe wholeheartedly in communities working together, making positive choices and speaking up for the things they believe in. My background is in the arts, media and education, so creating collective experiences and spaces for expression, exploration and having your voices heard and your feelings reflected is something I’m hugely passionate about.

My favourite thing about being a Kiwi:
It is a privilege to call a beautiful land like Aotearoa home, and the rich and diverse culture, history and mana of New Zealand is something that I am truly grateful for, and carry humbly with me in everything that I do wherever I am in the world. I think that we as a nation have a lot of work to do to get things back on track, but I believe the essence of Aotearoa is something truly special, and that if we can work together to look after each other, to honour and cherish the stories and experiences that have shaped us, and to truly care for the world around us, that we will all be able to be truly proud to call ourselves Kiwis, wherever we are in the world.

One lesson we can learn from overseas:
I learn new things from people, places and experiences every day, which I suppose is the answer to the question – there is such a big, wide world out here waiting to be discovered and explored so my piece of wisdom is to “show up”. Take part in life, be open to meeting new people, learning new things and seeking new experiences – whether it is simply going a few streets beyond where you’d normally stroll and saying hello to new faces, getting on a train and taking a little adventure to a new part of Aotearoa, or backpacking your way across the other side of the world. Show up and take part in life. There is SO much to be found, loved and learned from!

My favourite place overseas:
Oh my gosh. I couldn’t possibly name one! I really strive to, when I’m in a new city, connect with locals and experience things as if I live there. I’m not great with the “tourist” vibe – it stresses me out a bit with so much consumption, jacked-up prices and excessive “stuff” everywhere. Of course I love to see and experience all the historic and significant landmarks and sites, just like everyone else, but I’m not a great “tourist” as such. Which is probably why some of my favourite places are say, Broadway Market on a Saturday morning in London, around the corner from where I used to live. And Champs vegan diner in Brooklyn. Singing with jazz musicians in Philadelphia or Cuban musicians in Mexico.

There’s a beautiful city in Switzerland called Basel, which is a joy to visit, explore and perform in, and a crazy little spot in Wales called Southstack, near where one of my producers lives, which feels like the edge of the world. I stayed in a capsule hotel in Tokyo, which was just as ridiculously wonderful as I expected. I LOVE going to little Cantonese eating spots in Hong Kong, with friends there who are locals and can order delicious vegan food for me, that I wouldn’t have the faintest idea how to order myself! I love walking around Montmartre in Paris, and I always enjoy efficient and affordable public transport. Like I say… I can’t even begin to try and name just one! Everywhere has got a little bit of magic hiding somewhere – you just have to go out there and find it!

My favourite place in New Zealand:

I grew up in Auckland, but moved to Wellington in 2008 to do my Post Grad in teaching, before moving to the UK in 2009. I love Wellington, a lot – the food, the coffee, the art, the music, the people, the vibe. But I also really love standing in the middle of some of Aotearoa’s natural beauty and absorbing the magic of the world around me. Somewhere like Karekare or Muriwai, or the shores of Lake Taupo. But there are little hidden miracles everywhere in Aotearoa, some of which I haven’t even scratched the surface of, which is why I feel so passionately about helping to look after it all!

My message for International Kiwis:

I know first hand that “home” is wherever you choose it to be. Home is about a little bit of comfort, a little bit of security and a whole lot of love, and you can find that or build that in any corner of this beautiful planet, if you so desire. But if you identify Aotearoa as having some meaning to you as “home” in your past, present, or future, then I would urge you to please help us work together to look after it.

It doesn’t take much research to see that things have slipped in the last few years, and that our “100% Pure” imagery isn’t quite what we’d like it to be. New Zealand (and the world as a whole) is facing some real challenges at the moment, with people, communities and our wonderful natural resources not receiving the care they need and deserve. I met up with a wonderful kKwi couple in Brooklyn this month, and we discussed that this election isn’t really about getting New Zealand back to it’s “former glory”, it’s about acknowledging the REAL work that needs to be done to get us back on an even keel – this work that must be done before we can start focusing on the bells and whistles.

We have to protect and restore our land, our water and our people as a top priority, before we can get back to work on the proactive stuff. The Green party is committed to doing the mahi that is desperately needed to truly help Aotearoa back onto a path that will help us be a global pioneer for kind, progressive, sustainable and joyful living, but we need your help to do so. This is no longer a matter of a “fresh lick of paint” approach – we need to tackle the big foundational issues of our time, and tackle them now… and THEN we can do the redecorating!

Follow Bridget on Facebook here.

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International voting is open until September 22!

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Candidate Kōrero #7: Hayley Holt

Candidate Korero_1

In the run-up to the NZ election, we are profiling our Green Party candidates and sharing their messages with Kiwis around the world. Today we have  a message from Hayley Holt, candidate for Helensville and number 14 on our list.

CaptureCurrent Role:
Auckland Province convenor/ Candidate for Helensville

My Area Of Passion:
Sport and Recreation/Tourism/Investment in low-carbon industries/Decriminalisation of drug use so it can be treated as a health issue

My Number One Goal in Government:
When I was a snowboarder, alcohol sponsorship was everywhere. Athletes were personally sponsored and boxes of beer would turn up at their door. Competitions were sponsored and the booze was freely available. This might sound like great fun, but the only winners out of this model were the big alcohol corporations. They used us to make their product seem cool. Meanwhile, athletes were going off the rails, mental heath issues were rife and some of my friends paid the ultimate price. I had my own issues with problem drinking and I can honestly say the drinking culture that surrounds sport in New Zealand contributed to it. Alcohol is not performance enhancing and consuming it will not make you a better person. We need to ensure young Kiwis don’t get sucked in by this insidious practice.

My favourite thing about being a Kiwi:
The great outdoors! We are so blessed in this country and our great outdoors are our biggest asset. People come from all over the world to explore New Zealand and tourism is our biggest export earner – bigger than dairy! We need to ensure we protect our amazing natural environment for future generations to enjoy and explore

One lesson we can learn from overseas:
We need to believe that visitors to New Zealand appreciate that this country is unique and special enough that they won’t mind paying an extra $20 for the privilege to visit. Many other countries like Australia, Canada, US, UK and China charge visitors at the border. That’s why we need to introduce the Green Party’s Taonga Levy so we ensure we have the resources to increase our conservation efforts and provide tourism infrastructure in the regions.

My favourite place overseas:
I’m just going to front up and say it -I love London! It helps that many of my friends live there but it is such a diverse and exciting city and there is never a dull moment. It’s also so close to Europe that if it all gets a bit much you can get away at a moment’s notice.

My favourite place in New Zealand:
It’s a toss up between Northland, where my family is from, and Wanaka, which I adopted as my hometown when I was a sponsored snowboarder. The beauty of the two places can’t be compared, they are both spectacular in their own unique way

My message for International Kiwis:
When I lived overseas in my early 20s I was proud of where I came from. We are the little country that could, we punch above our weight internationally and, if the PR is to be believed, we are clean and green. That image is starting to fail us. We have failed to stand up and make solid commitments to reducing carbon emissions that contribute to  reducing climate change, preferring to pay other countries to do the work for us. We have committed to being ‘fast followers’ in this area rather than believing in our own capacity for innovation. 62% of New Zealand’s waterways are unsafe to swim in, 72% of our native fish are threatened with extinction and, while there are only 63 adult Maui dolphins left, we have let deep sea exploration into their sanctuary. This is a national shame. If you want to help us make New Zealand a country we can once again be proud of make sure you vote this election, and make sure your party vote goes to the Green Party.

Follow Hayley on Facebook here.

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Enrolment is open now and International voting begins on September 6.

 

Candidate Kōrero #6: Golriz Ghahraman

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In the run-up to the NZ election, we are profiling our Green Party candidates and sharing their messages with Kiwis around the world. Today we have  a message from Golriz Ghahraman, candidate for Te Atatū and number eight on our list.

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Current Role:
Candidate for Te Atatu, Member of the Strategic Planning Facilitation Group

My Area Of Passion:
Human Rights, Child Rights, race and immigration issues, constitutional law/reform, access to justice,

My Number One Goal in Government:
I would love to bring a human rights framework to policy and law making – my expertise in child rights would especially help reframe issues like climate change and housing as obligations that the government has to provide to our most vulnerable. I would also like to see some constitutional law and justice sector expertise in parliament. I want to safeguard our democratic institutions and ensure access to justice in a practical way- the Greens are the party who first called out the government on mass spying, fight to uphold Te Tiriti as a living constitutional document, and introduced an environmental legal aid fund. That’s the legacy I wan to continue with my legal expertise.

My favourite thing about being a Kiwi:
Being a kiwi is underpinned by our love of our natural environment (from beaches and rivers to our prehistoric forests) and our egalitarian spirit that means we value an equal and fair society.

One lesson we can learn from overseas:
I always envy Europe’s access to a higher court on human rights (the European Court of Human Rights), which can strike down law and policy which breaches human rights. Governments are accountable to the people, who have agency to enforce their rights. They don’t have to beg for things like access to justice, adequate healthcare or housing, or to be free from discrimination.

My favourite place overseas:
Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where I lived while I worked as a UN prosecutor at the Khmer Rogue Tribunal.

My favourite place in New Zealand:
The black sand beaches of Auckland’s wild west coast.

My message for International Kiwis:
I know what it’s like to be an ‘expat’ Kiwi, living in Europe, Africa and South East Asia- and trying to figure out how to vote! But it was always worth it. Taking part in democracy felt really important to me while living in the atmosphere of upheaval and fear every time elections came up in Cambodia. I remembered my parents had risked everything moving across the world to escape an oppressive regime in Iran. I remembered how much I valued NZ, our democracy, our values of inclusion and fairness – that’s why we have to vote, even from afar.

Follow Golriz on Facebook here.

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Enrolment is open now and international voting begins on September 6.

Candidate Kōrero #5: Barry Coates

Candidate Korero_2

In the run-up to the NZ election, we are profiling our Green Party candidates and sharing their messages with Kiwis around the world. Today we have  a message from Barry Coates, candidate for Epsom and number ten on our list.

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Current Role:
I am the most recent Green MP – I entered Parliament in October when Kevin Hague left. I am spokesperson on Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Trade and Investment, Arts and Culture, Overseas Development, Gambling, Internal Affairs and a few others!

My Number One Goal in Government:
Hard to say between ending child poverty and getting to zero greenhouse gas emissions. I’ll go for climate change as the most strategic threat that affects our planet and us all.

My favourite thing about being a Kiwi:
I lived overseas for 24 years, and while family and friends have been a strong thread drawing me home, so was the ‘sense of place’ – that wonderful feeling when you go tramping in old growth forest, or lie on a lonely golden sand beach or jump into a clean river.

One lesson we can learn from overseas:
It’s a tough world out there and we need to support those who have been born into circumstances that are not as fortunate as ours.

My favourite place overseas:
Ngorongoro crater, Tanzania

My favourite place in New Zealand:
Maungakiekie crater, Auckland

My message for International Kiwis:
This is a crucial election – this government is heading in the wrong direction for the environment, climate change, child poverty and democracy. We have a great chance of being the beating Green heart of the next government, to form a Green and compassionate future. Your help and support can make the difference!

Follow Barry on Facebook here.

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Enrolment is open now and International voting begins on September 6.
Enrolment is open now and International voting begins on September 6.