A Vanity Fair-esque photoshoot featuring Green Party candidates wasn't the party's idea but it is surprised and thrilled with the results, co-leader Metiria Turei says.

"It's an Annie Leibovitz-style photo and we are really excited by it, it's great to be on the cover," Turei told the Herald.

The photo used on the cover of the current North & South features Turei with new candidates Golriz Ghahraman, Chloe Swarbrick and Hayley Holt, in evening wear and sitting in front of co-leader James Shaw and candidate John Hart, both in suits and ties.

Titled "The New Greens", and sub-titled, "Is the once 'loony left' ready to rule (and should we be afraid)?" the feature article notes that despite the Greens having been in Parliament for 20 years they still face the same "tired old jabs" about "being wacky, smoking dope, hugging trees and eating lentils".

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The cover is getting attention, much positive and some humorous. Herald columnist Toby Manhire retweeted the cover photo with the suggested title, "Vanity Farmers' Market", setting off a chain of other suggestions including "Hempers Bazaar" and "Voguels".

But others have questioned why the women are sitting while Shaw and Hart stand, and criticised the party for stooping to "US-style marketing".

Ghahraman, an Auckland barrister 15th on the party list and whose family fled Iran in 1990 when she was 9 and were granted political asylum in New Zealand, wrote on Facebook that people had raised valid questions after seeing the cover.

"I came to be in this photo because my strong feminist parents risked their lives and left everything, their language, family, country, to come to New Zealand - because they weren't willing to raise a little girl under a repressive Islamic regime. There, the patriarchy forced women to be shapeless, colourless and de-sexualised.

"I'm no pushover. I'm not oppressed. And I have been a true Green for years now. I'm also wearing a sparkly green dress and sitting on the floor for Vanity Fair-style magazine cover. I feel lucky that I live in a land where I can wear what I like, be a powerhouse and play dress up when I like."

Ghahraman said the photoshoot aimed to surprise people into picking up the magazine, but the article surveyed the Greens' history and showed the "loony" criticisms are "getting really stale".

"We have now come to stand for progress, and science and policies that are actually what the future holds."

Photo / Supplied
Photo / Supplied

Turei said some people would no doubt complain if the men were seated in a "privileged" position.

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"How we sit and the placement of people, that is all done by the photographer and we don't want worry about that too much."

This month the Green Party launched its "Great Greens" election-year campaign, a series of promotional videos and website. Shaw is introduced as a businessman who has travelled to 50 countries and worked in 30 of them, and Turei as a corporate lawyer.

And last month the Green Party with Labour released a set of Budget Responsibility Rules they say will give New Zealanders certainty about how they would manage the economy should they form a Government after September's election.

The Greens received 10.7 per cent of the party vote in 2014, slightly down from 11.04 per cent in 2011.