This is the first in a series of candidates standing in Election 2020.

Green Party Palmerston North candidate Teanau Tuiono says when he looks back at everything he has done over the years it all leads to where he is now and he's ready to head to Parliament.

"What I've done has shaped me to be an effective advocate for change and for people.

"I've been an activist working to change my entire adult life.


"I'm qualified in law, and have worked overseas for the United Nations, and in representing indigenous communities at a global level in climate negotiations."

Tuiono is from a teaching family and they live in the Manawatū.

"A lot of my relatives are teachers and I work in the education sector as a publisher supporting teaching and learning in schools.

The Manawatū Guardian asked Tuiono: How seriously do you think people take climate change?

"A healthy environment is the basis of our wellbeing and an economy that delivers for people and the planet," he said.

"We know people in New Zealand want real action on climate change.

"We're seeing more and more young people speaking up for their futures and communities, and parents and grandparents taking action for a cleaner Aotearoa for their tamariki."

Tuiono said the Green Party wants future generations to know they did everything they could to prevent the climate crisis.

"Previous Governments have failed to protect our rivers and oceans against pollution, or invest enough in nature.

"We passed the Zero Carbon Act to set a legal framework to tackle the climate crisis, invested record amounts in public transport and cycleways, created new powers in the Resource Management Act to stop polluting developments, and required all default Kiwisaver funds to stop investing in fossil fuels.

"A stable climate for future generations means homes heated by clean energy, real transport choices to cut the need to drive, and producing food that nourishes the environment, and people."


MG: Do you think Covid-19 has affected how people view their responsibilities to care for the Earth?

"Covid-19 has shown that we can make big changes, fast, when we work together.

"For many, it has also given us a greater appreciation of what is important: Family, community and how nature can thrive if we let the environment rest.

"We're saying: 'Think ahead'.

"People are smart and understand we can't just pretend climate change won't impact us.

"A party vote Green makes sure we face up to these issues together, just like we have done for Covid-19."

MG: What are the positives in the Manawatū region at this time?

"This is a great place to be and to raise children; to work and to be connected in New Zealand.

"The academic and research communities have some fantastic innovation happening, and we have vibrant arts and culture.

"But there are things we need to work on too: For too long, too many of us have been left behind and unable to put a warm roof over our heads or food on the table.


"We need more Green MPs in the Government this September to make sure we can go further and faster to fix what is broken and set a better course for the future of our communities."

MG: What is the most pressing thing, you think, that the country needs to address?

"Recently we released our Poverty Action Plan.

"Our plan is a new, simple safety net that works for all of us.

"It's our plan to improve our communities long-term, so all people in New Zealand can live with dignity, put a roof over their heads and food on the table."

The Green party Poverty Action Plan headlines:

•A Guaranteed Minimum Income of $325 per week for students and people out of work, no matter what.

•A Universal Child Benefit for each child under 3 of $100 per week.


•A simplified Family Support Credit of $190 per week for the first child and $120 per week for subsequent children to replace the Working for Families tax credits with a higher abatement threshold and lower abatement rate.

•Additional support for single parents through a $110 per week top-up.

•Reforming ACC to become the Agency for Comprehensive Care, creating equitable social support for everyone with a work-impairing health condition or disability, with a minimum payment of 80 per cent of the full-time minimum wage.

•Changes to abatement and relationship rules so people can earn more from paid work before their income support entitlements are reduced.

•A 1 per cent wealth tax for those with a net worth over $1 million.

•Two new top income tax brackets for a more progressive tax system that redistributes wealth.

The Greens are launching their Palmerston North election campaign at 2pm on Saturday August 8 at Highbury Whānau Centre, with Teanau Tuiono and Jan Logie MP.