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Green Party Presents Policy Challenge

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Russel Norman
Russel Norman

25 January 2009 - The Green Party today presented the Government with a series of ready-to-go policies that can help New Zealand's economy, people and the environment at the same time.

Party Co-Leader Dr. Russel Norman delivered five challenges to the National-led Government in his State of the Planet address at Henderson in West Auckland today.

He issued a fresh challenge for a 'best-in-class' policy for the Government's vehicle fleet. "The Government should make it a rule to only buy the most fuel-efficient cars - the best-in-class," Norman said at the Green Party's Picnic for the Planet. "The best car for the job will save the country at least $30m a year in fuel costs."

Initiatives such as fuel-efficiency in the Government's vehicle fleet were the building blocks for a Green New Deal, Dr Norman said. "It is a response to both the financial crisis and the climate crisis."

In another new call, the Green Party Co-Leader challenged John Key to set standards for smart electricity meters: "You should be able to choose to run your dishwasher late at night and pay the cheapest rate for electricity; and sell power to the grid from rooftop solar panels."

"My challenge to John Key is to show that his is a smart government by requiring smart meters that will reduce peak power demand and save consumers money."

Dr Norman's speech reiterated a call to reinstate the Green Homes Fund for families "facing another winter huddling by heaters they can hardly afford." Norman described the billion-dollar Fund as a common-sense "shot of adrenalin for the building sector" that would create jobs and cut power bills.

In outlining the potential economic reach of the Green New Deal, the Green Party Co-Leader called on the National Government to follow US President Barack Obama and plan to cut oil consumption by a quarter over the next ten years, saving New Zealand $2billion annually.

"Over the last ten years we have spent $46.5 billion importing oil. This contributes to our trade deficit which adds to our overseas debt."

And, with an eye on the Government's economic stimulus package, Norman challenged National to match public transport funding to road funding. "For every dollar you spend on roads, commit at least one dollar to public transport - help Kiwis get there faster and cheaper on modern buses and trains."

While pledging to work with the Government wherever they could find common ground, Dr. Norman also championed the MMP system as the "fairest Parliament, the Parliament that best represents the people of New Zealand."

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