Greens co-leader Metiria Turei has paid tribute to the Labour and Green women MPs who walked out of Parliament over a year ago when former Prime Minister John Key accused the Opposition of supporting rapists.

"I want to thank every one of those Green and Labour women MPs today.

"That was a moment when our parties stood together and stood up for our values."

"I don't need to ask the values of the people here, or to look up feminism in the dictionary, unlike [Prime Minister] Bill English. I don't need to ask whose side we are on."


Key made the comment in the context of the Opposition lobbying for better treatment of criminal Kiwis by Australian authorities before they were deported back to New Zealand.

Turei spoke first in the joint state-of-the-nation address with Labour leader Andrew Little in a packed hall in Mt Albert, Auckland, where a by-election campaign is underway.

LISTEN: Jacinda Ardern vs Julie Anne Genter: Mt Albert byelection

Neither the Greens nor Labour are announcing any new policy today but are presenting a united front in their bid to oust the Bill English-led National Government at the election.

But much of Turei's speech centred on feminist themes.

She paid tribute to two women who inspired her, the late Helen Kelly, and former Greens-co-leader Jeannette Fitzsimon, in her state of the nation speech in Auckland today.

"Mana wahine, fierce women, women who stand up for what they believe in, who protect and care for our people, for our rights, for our planet; my mother and my daughter, it is the fierce women, the mana wahine in this room who inspire and motivate me and James, and all of us in the Green Party."

She said there were few easy solutions in politics.

"But when you can't rely on your Minister of Women's Affairs to stand up on behalf of women who are victims of sexual assault, who can you rely on?

"If the Minister for the Environment won't stand up for healthy, swimmable rivers, lakes and beaches, then who will?

"If the Minister for Social Development won't apologise to vulnerable children who were abused in state care, then who will?

"Now we have a new Prime Minister who believes Government can do no more - a Prime Minister who won't end poverty, a Prime Minister who is the architect of the housing crisis, a Prime Minister who accepts locking out an entire generation from warm, safe and affordable housing."

National 's record of the past nine years was to do what was easy, but it would not do what was right.

"The Green Party will do what's right, even when it's not easy."

Labour and the Greens had signed a memorandum of understand to work together to deliver for children, communities and the environment - "to see Andrew Little become our new Prime Minister".

"We are all going to change our country for the better," Turei said.

"We will have rivers, lakes and beaches we can swim in and safe water to drink. We will value parenting. We will have fair wages and decent incomes, where everyone will have enough to put a roof over their children's head and food on the table. We will uphold Te Tiriti o Waitangi. We will definitely have better, warmer, and more affordable housing.

"We will end the scourge of homelessness that is this country's great shame.
"I am inspired by Helen Kelly and Jeanette Fitzsimons.

"By the mana wahine who fight for indigenous rights here and around the world. By the women who marched for equality and human rights. By solo mums and working mums. By the women, like Jeanette, who put their bodies on the front line to defend our environment.

"By the women who weave wahakura and knit booties for our babies. By the women who protect whanau from violence. By the women who raised me and who I have raised."