A Wellington regional councillor has found a home in New Zealand's newest political party after he says he was "shafted" by the Greens.

David Lee was photographed alongside Sustainable NZ leader Vernon Tava at the Party's launch yesterday.

Tava promised to increase conservation funding by $1 billion over four years and said his party would put the environment first.

"A true sustainability-based party can work with either of the major parties to get the best deal for the environment. We are that party."


Lee successfully ran on the Green Party ticket for two terms as a Wellington City councillor.

But when he set his sights on the regional council this year, he lost the party's endorsement to Thomas Nash, leaving Lee shocked.

"I felt quite betrayed because I committed a lot of time, energy and money to the party.

"There was a feeling that a 'greener person' was a better candidate, but I was very disappointed at being shafted by my own party", Lee said at the time

He also said politics was the art of compromise and felt the Green philosophy was "zero compromise".

"It's better to get a few wins for the greater good rather than to die in a ditch over very ideological issues."

Lee still successfully gained a seat at the regional council's table as an independent in this year's local body elections.

In the 2017 general election he ran for the Greens in Ilam.


It was a seat Lee never had much hope of winning, with Gerry Brownlee hanging on to it since 1996, and Christchurch City councillor Raf Manji going after it.

Speaking to the Herald today, Lee said he attended the launch of the Sustainable NZ Party as a supporter.

When asked whether he intended to become a member, Lee said "it's looking that way".

Lee said the party filled a void in the "centralist Green space".

"It's also a move away from blaming capitalism as the culprit for our degraded environment, it is about that whole synergy between the environment, the economy and also society."

It was too early to speculate whether he would make a bid to run under the party's banner in the 2020 general election, Lee said.

"But I don't have a family anymore, I don't have the Greens, so I'm a bit homeless. I think I have been adopted by the Sustainable NZ Party and it does align with my whole ethos, so I think there are opportunities there, but the first thing to focus on is being a regional councillor."