The Greens have two leaders, Metiria Turei and James Shaw. Their focus is the environment. They want clean technology and they would like New Zealand to be carbon neutral by 2050. If they became the government, they would make more money available to the poor especially for those families with children. People on benefits like single parents, or those on a student allowance would get 20% more. They would raise the minimum pay rate from $15.75 to $17.75 and keep increasing it until it was 66% of the average wage.
They would drop the bottom tax rate to 9% and increase the top tax rate to 40% on incomes over $150,000. The higher tax rate would help to fund the increased support for the poor.
In a surprise speech, Metiria revealed that she had told lies to WINZ (Work and Income New Zealand) when she was studying law. She received a benefit from WINZ as she was a solo mother with a young child but she did not tell WINZ that she had flatmates who paid her rent. She broke the law. She told this story because she said benefits are not enough. However, her story could mean that she has to pay back that extra money she received illegally. She could also have to go to court.
The Green Party currently has 14 MPs in Parliament. It is the third largest Party in Parliament. It is likely that the Labour Party will need the support of the Greens or New Zealand First to make a government. It is also likely that New Zealand First will refuse to work with the Greens.
• carbon neutral – for example growing trees to add the same amount of carbon dioxide which is used
• a benefit – money paid by the government to help the poor
• reveal – to tell (or show) something that was hidden
• currently – right now