What do you think young people can expect from the Greens in the next few years?
They can expect us to keep leading the call for meaningful action on issues like inequality and climate change. Young people will be hit hardest by both if we don’t change course soon. They can also expect us to keep fighting for drug law reform!
You are currently serving as the Minister for Women. What do you think the biggest challenges for women are in a predominantly male-dominated society in New Zealand?
I think the biggest challenges are for those women in low-paid, precarious work. 350,000 women earn the minimum wage (which is often not enough to live on), most single-parent household are led by women, and Māori and Pasifika women have the largest gender pay gap (over 20%!). It’s my goal to help change this situation so women are paid what they deserve, and have enough to make a good life for themselves and their children.
What do you think the biggest challenges for New Zealand are in terms of transport?
Luckily, we can solve most of NZ’s transport woes with a smarter approach to funding and prioritisation. Making it safe for people to walk and cycle, making it easy and affordable to take public transport, and taking more big trucks off our roads by investing in rail and sea freight will benefit everyone because it takes pressure off our roads. Building light rail in Auckland will also mean there is much more money to invest in safety and maintenance of our regional roads around the country.
How can young people have their voices heard in New Zealand politics?
Definitely vote! Get involved, join a political party you believe in, and participate in their policy development, candidate selection, and campaigning. Stand for office yourself, at local or central level. Your future is being decided now by politicians – you deserve to have a say!
What are your biggest goals as a politician?
Transforming our society. At the moment, our economic system exploits people and the environment for the benefit of a few. Fundamentally changing that, so it serves our deepest values instead, will enable us to have a much fairer, happier society, and live in harmony with the rest of life on the planet.
What are your thoughts about what is happening in the world right now?
Humanity is at a crossroads. We are headed towards catastrophic climate change, species extinction, and horrific inequality. We have the technology and knowledge we need to resolve these issues – but it remains to be seen if we will work together peacefully and constructively to change our societies for the better, or if we will resort to selfishness and violence as has often happened in the past.
I am firmly on the side of peace, and there is evidence that we are actually living in much less violent times. So I have hope.