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Green Party Co-Leader James Shaw and Labour Party Spokesperson on Climate Change Dr Megan Woods spoke to students at Victoria last week about the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two parties.
The event was co-organised by VicLabour and Greens at Vic.
Shaw outlined the aims of the MoU and what it meant for the Green Party’s policies and their position in New Zealand’s political landscape. Shaw said the Green Party is the “party of change,” and that they are ready to govern with Labour and end the “status quo,” by offering an alternative option for government in the 2017 election.
Woods echoed Shaw’s ideas of strong partnerships between the two parties, but also stressed the MoU is an “open relationship.”
It is remaining an “open relationship” because they haven’t yet “closed the door” on other parties such as NZ First and the Măori Party if successful in the 2017 election.
Shaw and Woods said that the MoU has opened up the possibility for the first truly progressive government to be elected in our lifetimes, and that the parties are entering an era of change and vision to tackle critical issues like housing and climate change.
In the Q & A session, students’ questions ranged from the environment, the housing crisis, warmer student flats, mental health services, the 2017 election campaign, unemployment, tax laws and tax havens, tertiary education, and student loans.
The policy responses given by the politicians remained specific to their parties, especially when it came to housing—not joint policies.
Shaw admitted to the audience on numerous occasions that this was because the MoU relationship is still new and both parties are still having to work out points of similarity and difference in their policies and campaign strategies.
Greens at Vic Co-Convener Mona Oliver told Salient that “despite weather and delays, the night was amazing.” Oliver said the 60+ crowd was the biggest turnout at any Greens at Vic event on campus.