To the many people who had expressed their overwhelming support for me to enter Parliament this election – thank you. That the Greens held steady in a big loss for progressive politics is an achievement. We are hopeful that after special votes are counted we will have with 14 MPs. This will mean we retain the number of MPs we had previously. I am number 15 and we did not get the Party Votes we expected to enable me to become an MP.
I am not leaving this fight. Striving for a fairer society is too important. It feels quite liberating knowing that my family and I are in this for the long haul – both in our support for the visions of the Green Party and community actions, and to contribute with my voice however appropriate. I have always said that we need decent people everywhere and at all levels. It is essential to have more decent people in Parliament and the Green Party has loads of them.
I am concerned for the future of our country. More than ever we will need to be strong voices for our children, our economy and our environment. We will need to stay connected with those most disconnected. We will need to stay attuned to the heartbeat of both grassroots struggle and grassroots celebration. I have seen Green MPs do exactly this which is why I am proud to have stood for this Party.
I have spent two days responding to a flood of disappointments about me not getting in. It became clear that people deserve an assurance that I will not leave the platform of hope that I campaigned on. This blog response is for those people. You first time voters who said they had never considered voting before until the Greens spoke with you. You voters who shifted your support from another party because the Greens listened to you. You who swayed your whole families to vote Greens because we met with you. I have not forgotten you, I am feeding off you. You are why I will not stop fighting.
On the Sunday night after the election, my wider family all gathered at my house for a celebration. We gathered kai and kids and sat around soaking in the safety of whānau. This is the privilege of my life. I have a family immersed in the importance of unconditional love. We stand up for the values our family have. So while I did not become and MP on Saturday night, we reflected on the months of Green Party campaigning to stand up for what we believe in. We reflected on our whanau collective years of activism and the different journeys it yielded. Hell yes – it was a celebration of our conviction.
My family are proud of me and I am super proud of them for having my back. During this campaign life continued to throw life at us, as any other candidate will tell you. The trials and tribulations of being human do not stop simply because the campaign chaos begins. Other candidates will all be nodding their heads now as they recall having to look brilliant and focussed in front of media or packed community halls while some family crisis was happening in the alleyways of our non-public existence.
I am aware that we will need to support those people for whom things may become harder under this National government. Caring for each other and our environment must remain a priority. But I also maintain some optimism about this election result. Yes the revelation of grubby politics mostly concreted people into their already held political ideoligies. Those who have lost faith in our system mostly stayed in that spot and stayed out of the vote. Those who are accustomed to the system working for them got up to protect the status quo. Perhaps we were not going to see real change until such things had come to light. A necessary backwards step as it were. We are now faced with the real challenge of inspiring people to engage with a better vision, including those who voted this government in. And that vision is not restricted to any one political party or even to our parliamentary system. But things happen at central government that negatively impact on real lives and on our environment. We do need positive decisions to be made in that House. This government if it continues on its cruel path will not sustain itself. We have to be ready to inspire into the margins of our neighbourhoods more than ever before. I look forward to seeing some innovative direction to galvanise communities of thought and communities of causes for a smarter Aotearoa.
Already the Green Party is seeing some positive opportunities. By Sunday after the Saturday election the Green Party had a flurry of new memberships. We did not expect this immediate reaction. Through our campaign we remained strongly led, united and issue focussed. Despite the overall vote results our calibre resonated on the ground hence the almost desperate queries I am having to field around not making it into Parliament. I have already seen Māori who held my support into Parliament decide they will join as members. If people want to get behind our visions and our plans for a fairer Aotearoa you can join here for $15 a year. Members get to determine policy, rank our Party list, choose our co-leaders and run our flax roots branch system. And it’s a good way to hang out with your ‘tribe’ of like minds which I find hugely energising.
Thanks to our ground focussed campaign we have built up a promising core of Auckland based Māori and Pacific young women support in particular. This is very exciting and is something I want more than anything to help grow. Whatever profile I am slowly building will also be used to support the Green Party in my strive for recognition of indigenous rights and social justice.
I am not going anywhere folks. My whānau and I are on this waka for the long haul. Right now the opportunity in front of me includes the clear vision and good sense plan of the Green Party. My extended whānau will be cementing our Green Party membership this week which will amount to enough members for our own branch almost! I urge particularly our Māori and Pacific communities to get involved so that the Green Party can support our Tangata Whenua and Pacific green aspirations better.
Join us. Challenge us. Celebrate with us. Plan with us.
I will be here.