In this year's election there will be 14 Young Greens (YG) candidates spread across the country. This reflects the growth of the YG network during this last term. We're going from strength to strength and more YGs are taking leadership roles within the party.
It is of course fitting that a party like the Greens, which is inherently future-focused and solutions-based, is attracting bright, enthusiastic. talented young people. The YGs have injected new energy into the party which when combined with the wisdom of our founding members is proving an awesome combination.
Our 15 candidates have a range of backgrounds and experience and all contribute to a strong kaupapa based in ecological wisdom, social justice and building a smart green economy. Four of our YG candidates have been ranked in the top twenty on the Party list.
Gareth Hughes, a current sitting MP and stalwart of the YGs is number 7 on list. Gareth is a seasoned campaigner having worked for Greenpeace over a number of years on GE Free, deep sea trawling and climate campaigning. Gareth's most noticeable role at Greenpeace was leading the Sign On climate campaign with a star studded team of kiwi celebrities. Since entering parliament, Gareth has become the opposition's goto man on transport issues, making sure that Steven Joyce aka "The Colossus of Roads" has ample pressure on him over National's motorway building obsession. Gareth has also gained recognition as Parliament's champion for internet freedom over the file-sharing issue and campaigned for legislation that would ensure all rental properties are warm, healthy and energy efficient. Gareth is the candidate for Ohariu-Belmont.
At number 12 on the list we have Holly Walker who has a particularly strong background in social justice issues. Holly is a champion debater and had the honour of attending Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar where she completed her Masters in Development Studies. Currently she works for the Green Party Parliamentary team as a media and policy advisor. Holly played a particularly strong role in helping develop the Greens' child poverty priority, our goal of getting 100,000 kids out of poverty next term. Holly is the candidate for Hutt South.5
Julie-Anne Genter is our lucky 13 on the list and is one of New Zealand's foremost transport and urban design experts. Julie-Anne worked and studied in the US and Europe before immigrating to New Zealand and joining the Greens. Like Holly, she currently works for the Green Party Parliamentary team as a media and policy adviser where she covers a number of portfolios with transport as a key focus. While living in Wellington, current polling levels would see Julie-Anne enter Parliament as an Auckland based MP after the election. Julie-Anne is the candidate for Mt Roskill.
18 on the list is Aaryn Barlow. Aaryn's background is in the environmental movement and he has worked and volunteered for a number of NGOs. Currently he works for the Nelson Environment Centre on household sustainability and thermal performance modelling using Homestar. Aaryn lives off grid and is establishing up an organic farm based on permaculture principles. Aaryn helped develop the 'Warm Healthy Rentals' bill with Gareth, and also has a particular interest in energy and agriculture policy. Aaryn is the candidate for Nelson.
We need to build a richer New Zealand that ensures all our lakes and rivers are clean enough to swim in, where no children live in poverty and where we build a smart, low carbon economy based on green jobs. These are the Green Party's priorities for the next term, and the more votes we get at the election the higher our chance to implement them. Having strong YG candidates is a huge boost to the campaign and in the longer term, it means we will have depth of talent in the Party when we lead the first Green government :o)