Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson says support is increasing for its advocacy on social issues as the party seeks to gain more power at the next election.
Internal polling provided to the Herald shows since the 2020 election, trust in the party to tackle issues from mental health to social welfare and public transport had all increased substantially.
It comes as party members meet today for a virtual AGM - it was supposed to be in-person in Christchurch but moved online due to concerns about the Covid-19 outbreak.
On the official agenda will be reaffirming the party's co-leaders, a process that occurs every year and Davidson says not to read too far into, despite a recent change to the male/female co-leader requirement.
New rules mean one leader must be female and one of any gender (providing leadership pathways for non-binary and intersex). One co-leader also needed to be Māori.
There are currently no challengers to Davidson and James Shaw, though members can call for the process to be opened up again during the meeting.
Shaw has attracted some criticism from more radical factions within the party over his approach to social issues and what some feel is a lack of action on climate change, given he is the minister responsible.
Davidson said Shaw, who himself has criticised the Labour-led Government over pulling back on its climate ambition, had her full support.
"Our party cares more about climate change than any party and our members are deeply passionate about it," Davidson said.
"They want to see more, so does James and so do I - we have made no secret of that. But we have achieved more in this space than the past 30 years combined, and I know personally how hard James works behind the scenes on everything from making polluters pay to changing the economic system.
"But like myself, no co-leader ever has 100 per cent support, there will always be comments and feedback," she said.
Members will also today be voting on a remit to require a 10-day cooling-off period between negotiations concluding on any governing agreement and it being put to delegates for a vote.
As reported this week by the Herald, the remit is being put by The Green Left, a group within the Greens comprising its most left-wing members.
Green Left co-convenor Nicole Geluk-Le Gros said the rule change came after the last two governing agreements, hashed out in 2017 and 2020, were put to members at very short notice.
In 2017, delegates voted without seeing the full text of the Confidence and Supply Agreement and in 2020, delegates were given about 15 minutes to read the deal.
The remit will be put to members on Saturday and require "consensus", or the support of 75 per cent of voting delegates, to pass.
Davidson said she was happy with how the party was tracking.
They went from 6.3 per cent at the 2017 election to 7.9 at the last election, and averaged about 10 per cent in the polls ever since. Current internal polling has them at 10.1 per cent.
The internal polling also shows an increasing proportion of voters considering the Green Party at the next election, compared to at the 2020 election - and especially those "on the fence" over voting for Labour.
Davidson said she believed some of the increase in support was down to increasing trust in the party to tackle social issues, where the party was polling the highest it had since 2017.
The focus on environmental versus social issues has long been a point of friction within the party - ever since it was formed.
Internal polling data shows since 2020 the Greens as most trusted to address issues in social welfare went from 6 per cent to 11 per cent overall.
Responses around reducing poverty, addressing mental health issues and improving public transport also all improved for the party.
Davidson said ahead of the next election, areas they would continue pursuing action on included rent controls and a wealth tax.
"We are halfway into a term now and it is clear we are ready to hold the balance of power into election 2023," Davidson said.
"Trust in us to take the lead on social issues is increasing while we are maintaining leadership on climate change and the environment."
Davidson pointed to work by Chlöe Swarbrick on student welfare, Ricardo Menendez-March on immigration and Dr Elizabeth Kerekere on banning conversion therapy as all broadening social issue advocacy.
In her ministerial portfolio around sexual and family violence, Davidson had got the national strategy Te Aorerekura up and running, after it had been set back in the previous term.
Davidson said despite some setbacks, Shaw had also achieved more in the past term and a half as Climate Change Minister than the country had in the "past 30 years combined", including the recent Emissions Reduction Plan with $4.5 billion in the Budget to back it.
"We are now into our second term with Labour and we are growing up in politics," she said.
"You can both work with Government ministers and get things over the line as well as be really clear where we want to do more."