Thank You!

There’s just one day to go before the New Zealand election.

It feels like just yesterday we were sat in a North London pub in 2014, watching National win a third successive term. There were tears then for a missed opportunity and for all the people back home who would be disadvantaged in the next three years.

We made a promise to ourselves on that day: next time would be different.

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We’ve kept our promise and built the biggest international political network New Zealand has ever seen. For our dedicated global team, the last three years has whizzed by in a flurry of activity.

The Greens are the only New Zealand political party with an international presence. Our London branch was founded by James Shaw in 2008 with a vision and a couple of supporters. One decade later, we have volunteers in five continents and more than two dozen countries.

No one knows quite how many Kiwis live overseas, although best estimates are that it’s somewhere between 500,000 and one million. But, last election, only 38,000 New Zealanders voted from outside New Zealand. This is a voice that is hugely underrepresented.

18485583_1496838430347615_480415555332941882_n.jpgThe Greens are still the only party to try to engage with these voters. We believe the values, hopes and voices of overseas New Zealanders matter just as much as any other Kiwi. We believe they have a valuable perspective to offer New Zealand, and that their voices are worth listening to. 

International New Zealanders come in many shapes and sizes. There are economic migrants who have sought a better life for themselves in Australia. There’s the traditional OE crowd in London or North America. There are NGO employees, backpackers, digital natives, students, Kiwis chasing the snow, Kiwis chasing the sun, Kiwis following their heart and Kiwis living life day-by-day with no firm plans. We’re in all corners of the globe, doing all sorts of things. 

All of us are Kiwis who have built a life overseas- permanently or temporarily – while still caring deeply about Aotearoa.

The Green Party understands this.

Our first decision was to expand our international presence, beyond London, to reach New Zealanders all around the world

We surveyed Kiwis overseas to find out what really mattered to them. The answers we got back from our Global Kōrero survey were illuminating. And they meshed with Green Party values:  poverty, the environment, transport and housing are all issues we care about. Most respondents wanted New Zealand to be a place they could be proud to call home, and where friends and whānau living there could thrive.

But a lot respondents simply hadn’t voted in the last election because they didn’t feel engaged, or didn’t know how.

12075067_10153650796281233_2620106317774780137_nSo we got to work building a comprehensive international network. For the first time ever, we set up an international campaign team with two volunteer coordinators (Megan in the Southern Hemisphere and Simon in the Northern Hemisphere) and a NZ liaison and creative director (Bryce).  For the first time since James Shaw ran for parliament from London, we also had a dedicated international candidate (Bridget).

Then we put the word out for international volunteers – and they poured in! We’ve had volunteers in traditional Kiwi destinations like the US, Canada, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Hong Kong and Australia. And we’ve also found supporters in more obscure places like Guernsey, Chile and Niue.

This is a global movement! And we’ve achieved a lot…

  • We launched Kiwi Greens Global as a dedicated space for all volunteers, supporters or interested parties to chat and keep up to date with the NZ political scene. It’s across the web, with a presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and a blog.
  • We built a standalone campaign and volunteer recruitment website.
  • Bridget Walsh spent the last six months travelling the world hosting pop-ups for Kiwis far and wide, helping Kiwis enrol and sharing our vision for Aotearoa. She engaged with local musicians and artists across the world to help build a global community of progressive Kiwis.
  • Our London team visited COP21 in Paris to campaign for action on climate change and link up with activists from across the world.
  • James Shaw visited London for a Q+A session to keep us up to date what was happening back home.
  • We hosted a session on urban planning with expert Kiwis working in the UK on lessons to be learned from the London and New Zealand experiences.
  • We welcomed Metiria Turei to the UK, where she meet Kiwi community leaders and hosted an open drop-in session to say hi to all London-based Kiwis. We even made the news back home.
  • We popped up to Liverpool for the Global Greens conference and networked with Green Parties all over the world. We shared our knowledge on campaigning for international votes – it turns out we’re becoming a model for the rest of the world!
  • We’ve run a series of profiles of our volunteers explaining why they’ve committed their time to the campaign.
  • Our volunteers have been on the ground at Kiwi events like Waitangi Day and the Big Day Out in London. We’ve handed out flyers at Kiwi pubs before All Blacks and Black Ferns games all over the world. We’ve hung around queues when Kiwi bands come to town and stood outside Kiwi pubs. One of our team also spoke to football fans before All Whites games in Russia. That’s commitment!
  • We’ve forged links with cultural groups, businesses and networks around the world, promoting Green values and community-building among international Kiwis.
  • Our top lists candidates shared their messages for international Kiwis and lessons we can learn from overseas, as well as what makes NZ special.
  • Bryce designed collateral and merchandise unique for the international team and campaign – T-shirts, lanyards, stickers and flyers and with a close connection to the brand team in Wellington, kept the graphic design looking sharp and on-brand.
  • We got really adept at targeted online promotion and had a social media presence like never before.
  • We produced a video to remind Kiwis overseas to vote, and show how easy it is. s This was a truly international piece as it had segments filmed both in the UK and New Zealand, and the volunteers involved in professional production and post-production came from Italian, Spanish, Argentinian and British backgrounds. Between different edits, it now has over 140,000 views across all platforms!
  • We’ve door-knocked in a half-a-dozen cities across the world.
  • We instigated a collaboration with MP Marama Davidson on a series of online Te Reo lessons for Londoners and we even roped her into sharing a waiata for international Kiwis from Waitangi.
  • We’ve phoned almost 1000 Kiwis living abroad to ensure they know how to vote. Even today we were still having conversations with people who hadn’t voted.

Our international  team comes from a wide range of backgrounds. We are students, designers, campaigners, hospitality workers, musicians, IT people, dancers, netball players, health workers, journalists.

We are mums and dads. Single and married. Pākehā, , Māori, Asian and Pasifika. Straight and gay. We come from poor backgrounds and rich backgrounds. Urban and rural. From the North Island and South Island. 

We are Aot16472894_1389959794368813_5101964274168736352_n.jpgearoa in microcosm. And we share a common goal to make our home the best it can possibly be. We want New Zealand to be a place we’re proud to call home. We want all our whānau in New Zealand to be able to thrive.

Between us all, we’ve spent the last 18 months exploring every avenue for engaging international Kiwis. In 2014, we reckon we reached 6,000 international voters. This time around we think we’ve increased that ten-fold. More than 60,000 Kiwis all around the globe have heard our message.

International votes will help change the government and put a Green heart in the middle of it.

We will do things better. 

We can eliminate poverty in NZ. We can clean up our rivers. We can lead the world on climate justice.

21192507_1605299632834827_1015299367604497429_nWe made that promise to ourselves three years ago – no more crying over results. Let’s get out and get this done. Every international Kiwi we’ve meet has been warm and friendly and amazing. Now we’re asking you for one more favour.

We need your vote. And your friend’s vote. Everyone’s vote!

A vote for the Green Party is a vote for a government led by Jacinda Ardern supported by the Green party. We will make sure Labour prioritise your values. Because they’re our values too.

If you haven’t voted from overseas already there’s still time to do so. Either pop into an international voting post (most close their doors around 4pm on Friday) or upload or fax your ballot paper to arrive in NZ no later than 7pm on Saturday 23rd New Zealand time.

Party vote Green for a country you can be proud to call home, no matter where in the world you live.

Kia kaha, kia toa, kia manawanui

From Megan, Simon, Bryce, bridget and the entire Kiwi Greens Global volunteer team.

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Candidate Kōrero #10: Eugenie Sage

Candidate Korero_2In 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 Eugenie Sage, candidate for Port Hills and number four on our list.

Eugenie Sage 2017 election 2

Current Role:
Green MP and Spokesperson for Environment, Primary Industries, Water, and Earthquake Commission.

My Area Of Passion:
Wild rivers and wild landscapes

My Number One Goal in Government:
Ensure that Kiwis are aware of our biodiversity crisis; that the government invests in conservation and works with councils and communities to protect the native plants and animals that are only found here in Aotearoa and we stop any species going extinct.

My favourite thing about being a Kiwi:
Our wonderful wild places and rivers

One lesson we can learn from overseas:
The UK planning system encourages compact cities and towns through “green belts” which protect the countryside from sprawling suburbs.

My favourite place overseas:
Dettifoss waterfall in Iceland and Denmark’s cycle paths.

My favourite place in New Zealand:
The Tarawera Falls where the river shoots out of a volcanic cliff.

My message for International Kiwis:
We can make our “clean, green 100% Pure” image real and look after our rivers and wild places. We can take action on climate change. We need your Party Vote to do that. Party Vote Green in 2017.

Follow Eugenie on Facebook here.

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International voting is open until September 22 in person or September 23 (NZT) online.

Candidate Kōrero #9: Mojo Mathers

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 Mojo Mathers, candidate for Rangitata and number nine on our list.

16002968_1818073211792554_2447938715125195729_nCurrent Role:
MP spokesperson for Disability, Animal Welfare, Conservation

My Area Of Passion:
Animal welfare, disability rights and our amazing native wildlife!

My Number One Goal in Government:
A recent report highlights that 80% of NZ native birds species are in trouble. In government my priority would be to turn this around starting by significantly increasing funding for conservation.

My favourite thing about being a Kiwi:
Our wonderful wild places and rivers

One lesson we can learn from overseas:
Austerity economics drives social inequality and environmental degradation. Both have got worse in NZ under nine years of a National Government

My favourite place overseas:
I have strong family ties to South Cornwall, near Gorran Haven.

My favourite place in New Zealand:
My home in Peel Forest, South Canterbury!

My message for International Kiwis:
New Zealand has an incredible natural heritage that shapes our identity as kiwis. Only a vote for the Green party will ensure our native birds thrive and flourish and our waterways are cleaned up so that our children and grandchildren can swim in their local river.

Follow Mojo on Facebook here.

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International voting is open until September 22 in person or September 23 (NZT) online.

Globetrotting Greens #4: Kylie in the Netherlands

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In the lead-up to the election on September 23, we’re profiling some of our widespread international volunteers and asking them to share why they’re voting Green in 2017. Today, meet Kylie. She’s a Kiwi living in the Netherlands with her husband Mark. She is a freelance communications consultant and enjoys geeking out on scifi, kiwi music, and pop culture in general.

New Zealand has a lot to be proud of. We’re great at sports. We make awesome films, produce phenomenal music, and write amazing books to great acclaim all around the world. We are inventors, and innovators. We make unfathomably delicious wine and chocolate! Our little corner of the world is breathtakingly gorgeous. We are lucky to come from Aotearoa, a place with a deep and rich culture. Living overseas has shown me that internationally we have a fantastic reputation for all of these things, people want to talk to us about them all the time. They are things to absolutely be proud of.

But what makes a country really, truly successful? Is it that we look beautiful to the outside? Or is that just clever marketing?

In what other ways do we lead the world?

New Zealand has the highest youth suicide rate in the world. Our rangatahi are killing themselves at a rate twice as high as their American counterparts, and five times that of British young people.

We have the highest rates of family (child) and intimate partner violence in the world.

We have the highest percentage of homelessness in the OECD. 42,000 Kiwis now live in “precarious” housing such as garages, caravan parks and cars.

More New Zealand children are killed by poverty-related diseases linked to cold, damp, and overcrowded housing than are killed by car crashes or drowning accidents.

We top the IMF’s housing unaffordability list.

I’m not proud of these statistics.

They are all interconnected, and reflect a Government and a society that has the wrong priorities. We see the consequences of this inaction in our education, health and crime statistics. All of these factors disproportionately impact Māori.

If solutions aren’t found for these systemic problems, our people don’t thrive, limiting our potential. If our government continues to prefer running at a surplus over properly funding programmes to improve these outcomes, they are part of the problem. If we are to judge the success of our country by how we treat our most vulnerable, we are failing. Catastrophically.

Multiple governments have tried and failed to fix these problems. Something’s got to change. We have to try something new.

Watch this short excerpt from when Kylie and Mark met our international candidate Bridget Walsh on her recent global pop-up tour.

This election I’m proud to be voting for the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. Along with a clear plan to tackle climate change, they have become the strongest opposition voice in parliament for our most vulnerable. A representative democracy can only be strengthened by having Māori, youth, queer, disabled, and refugee voices in government. As a member, I am proud that all of these voices and perspectives are represented in the top ten of our party list. I believe in the Green kaupapa, and I believe we have policy to begin to combat all of the challenges we face. A Green heart in the next Labour Government will ensure a truly progressive government, working to improve life for all New Zealanders.

Check out our social polices here and our newly announced mental health policy here.


 Enrolment and International voting are now open until 22 September.

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