For your rainy day and leisurely Queen’s Birthday reading, I’ve attached a copy of the speech delivered today by Green co-leader Russel Norman to the Green Party AGM. I’m not a Green Party member, but I’d be hard-pressed to find any significant disagreement with Russel’s message.

And as someone who has read and written many, many political speeches, I have to say this is one of the best I’ve seen. An excellent blend of moral fervor and pragmatism. Of criticism and of calling for our best. And some memorable lines … ‘50% Pure’ does not cut it as a global brandKiwis can be so much more than what we might dig up, suck up and sell offWith pure water and smart technology we’ll not only have milk, we’ll cream it.

It would have been nice to witness his audience’s reaction. So here are some excerpts. But I urge you to read the entire speech … one way or the other, it will stir you up.


On New Zealand’s competitive advantage
And as a small producer at the edge of the world, we need an export brand to sell our products overseas. That brand is clean green New Zealand, 100% Pure. It’s the best brand you could ask for as we enter a world of heightened environmental awareness. It is worth $13 billion to New Zealand, and can be worth much more in the future.

…We know that right now the PR doesn’t always reflect the reality – our country isn’t 100% clean and green. It is dirty in some places and pristine in other places.

A smart economic strategy for New Zealand would make clean and green a reality. Smart economics says we keep it real.

On Green Technology
The global market for clean technology goods and services is already worth $415 billion per year. It is projected to grow to $1.9 trillion by 2017. If we could access just one percent of this market it would be worth $19 billion a year to our country.

The next economic wave is the green economic wave and, if New Zealand wants to prosper, we must prioritise research, science, and technology spending in areas such as renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, green tech manufacturing, green design and energy efficiency.

On Historic Export Strategy
For 150 years our export strategy has too often been based on the extraction of short-term non-renewable resources. We killed the seals and shipped them off, and then we had no more seals. We killed the whales and shipped them off, and then we had no more whales. We logged the kauri and shipped them off, and then we had no more kauri.  Then we cleared the lowland forest, and now we are sucking up all the water.

…And now they want us to mine the best of our National Parks so we’ll be left with holes in the ground. It’s a get-rich-quick scheme that threatens our long term economic interests.

On Our Economic Challenge
Our challenge is this:  We must join the economy to the environment in the minds of all New Zealanders.  We need to show them how a healthy economy relies on a healthy environment.

The National Government tells New Zealanders something different.  John Key says it’s a trade off – he says we must balance more GDP growth against more environmental decline. In effect he says we can have clean and green, or economic success.

We say clean and green is the basis of our economic success. No environment, no economy. Clean and green: If we keep it real, we’ll all be better off.

For our National Party readers, rest assured. Dr Norman takes a poke at Labour’s environmental “malign neglect” as well.

Best to read the entire speech.

Tom Belford

Join the Conversation


  1. That's a great speech from the Green Party: surely the better future of NZ is in long-term economic choices that NZers will always feel proud to stand behind.

  2. yep. knocks out the perennial "greens have no economic sense" argument by neatly demonstrating they in actuality have the ONLY sensible economic argument. but so long as we remain locked in to our throw-away consumerism (thanks America – no offence Tom) we'll keep getting suckered by Key et al.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.