Loss of Gareth Hughes huge blow to Greens


One of my favourite Green MPs, Gareth Hughes, is stepping down from Parliament at the next election.

I’ve known Gareth since his entry into NZ Politics, his intelligence, good nature and understanding of Parliamentary process is a huge blow to a Party that at times doesn’t seem to know what it’s doing.

His good nature, total lack of ego and willingness to work with others is a vast departure from the current newbie class of MPs who seem totally focused on them being the centre of everything the Greens do.

It is great to see him going out fighting

“Across my 10 years here, things have actually got worse. Emissions have increased, we are still losing a hundred million tons of topsoil every year – our most precious resource – homelessness is growing,” Hughes says.

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“I don’t think the Government has been transformational. There’s been pockets of transformation, but you know, I don’t think historians are gonna look back at it and say ‘This was a turning point on the scale of the 1930s or 1980s’. And I think that’s desperately needed.”

“It’s a disappointment that we aren’t seeing the change I think we need. As a father, I’m desperately worried about the future of the world.”

…I love it when a Politician leaves and can finally be honest…

Hughes says New Zealand needs a change on the scale of those revolutions – the first Labour Government creating the welfare state and the fourth one tearing it apart.

“As I reflect across 20 years of activism I realise that I’ve spent 20 years winning campaigns, but each one’s kind of like chopping off the head of the hydra. There’s always another equally important campaign right behind it. I’ve spent 20 years fighting the symptoms, not the source.”

“I’ve grown up knowing nothing but the revolution of the early 1980s. This is this operating system which was uploaded in New Zealand and people have tried to install better policies or better programs, but if they don’t work with the system, they are crashing.”

Hughes thinks it is key that the Greens push the country towards a new economic system able to properly fight climate change, and it isn’t yet.

“Our ambitions have to match the scale of the emergency. We have to build a movement because if we are going to see the transformational change to save the planet from literally burning we have to do more than just sort of exhaustedly crossed the line at 5.01 per cent. We have to keep growing and growing and have strong ambitions.”

The Government’s main climate change law, the recently-passed Zero Carbon Act, is “scaffolding” – Hughes says. But the rubber hasn’t really hit the road yet, and he’s extremely disappointed that existing oil and gas permits are being extended.

…I always felt that the Greens never utilised Gareth as well as they should have and that his talents were never fully explored.

I wish him all the best, he’s a great talent and a real loss to the Greens.


  1. Sad news. Maybe a white male has got no place in an identity based party that wants climate change 2050.

    Hopefully a wake up call to the Greens if it is possible, that they are at war with not only their voters who don’t fit their exclusive identity model but also their own activists who are dissatisfied and somehow there is no place within the Greens for dissent if they don’t fit the right identity or views?

    Greens need to chill out on the identity authoritarianism, and take a look back at the past what the original Greens vision was and how they went about it – it’s easy to blame identity groups than actually doing something real that is not blame based. Not only that, they are promoting the wrong identities and policies!

  2. Gareth Hughes’ departure will be a sad day for NZ politics. He was one of the best politicians to represent NZ Greens, if not one of the best MPs from any party to sit in the House. A thoroughly decent guy, who worked extremely hard in an attempt to make NZ a better place for all Kiwis. I believe had he been given the opportunity, Gareth would have made an outstanding leader of the party.

    In announcing his retirement, Gareth seemed somewhat disillusioned with the path the NZ Green party is taking now. I can’t blame him, because it’s become a party of identity politics, something which I feel does not bode well with a lot of NZers, myself included.

    While his clean, intelligent and dedicated input will be sorely missed in NZ politics, I do wish Gareth and his family all the best for their future.

  3. No blow there, while Gareth may at times have been principled and outspoken, he was having little effect on the overall Greens policy.

    And since the Greens signed up to this coalition of mediocrity, it will not make any difference whether Gareth is still there or not. James the Bean Counter Shaw and his activist talk is cheap co leader are in charge, so there remain to be questions, that are not answered, and will not win the Greens many votes next year.

    • If the Greens had gone into coalition with the hard right National party, they would’ve ended up just like the Maori party or United Future party, their destruction complete.
      Kia Kaha Gareth, you will definitely be a blow for the Greens.

  4. I was wondering what had happened to Gareth Huges. I haven’t heard a pip from him all term. Reading between the lines I can now see why. For the Greens this loss is almost terminal. The ship is being abandoned.

  5. Reading Gareth’s comments i totally agree with him and i think it reflects the disillusionment in the wider Green party and beyond that the real change that is needed will not happen.

    This government has not and will not be able too make the bold decisions that are needed and if it secures a second term with the current ministers and members , there will just be incremental tinkering as that is their version of ” transformation “not the revolution that is sorely needed and Gareth talks about.

    His departure is regrettable but understandable.
    I hope he will be available for a new political movement that has too happen sooner rather than later.

    All the very best Gareth and thank you for serving.

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