by Holly Walker
With real sadness, I have decided to withdraw from the Green Party’s list for the 2014 general election and not seek a second term in Parliament. I will stay on as the Green Party candidate for Hutt South to campaign for the Party Vote in my community
I am gutted to be leaving so soon in what I hoped would be a long career in politics. I came to Parliament to stand up for what I believe in and to make real change happen. I wanted to leave having helped to reduce inequality, eliminate child poverty, slow disastrous climate change, and protect our precious natural heritage. I haven’t achieved those things yet, and I am disappointed that I won’t be part of a progressive Green government to make them a reality next term.
I am also sorry to be leaving because I wanted to prove that it’s possible to be a good mum and a good MP at the same time. You may have been following my blog posts here about my experience of combining parenting and politics, and some particularly lovely people have sent me messages of encouragement and support. I really appreciate it.
With lots of amazing support from friends, family, colleagues, and staff, I have managed to combine these two important jobs until now. Unfortunately, a recent unexpected change in my family life has made it very difficult for me to continue, even with great support. Under these circumstances, I have chosen to put my family first. It has been a hard decision, but I have no doubt it is the right one.
I want to thank the Speaker, my caucus colleagues, my wonderful EA, the Green Party whānau especially my local team, and all the family and friends who have made it possible for me to stay in Parliament from Esther’s birth until now. Within an obviously challenging environment, I couldn’t have had a more supportive team.
While there is much more I would have liked to do in my time in Parliament, I am proud of what I have achieved. Before I entered Parliament, I was the Green Party’s lead advisor on inequality and social issues, and in the last six years (three as an advisor and three as an MP), I’ve worked hard to help put inequality and child poverty on the political agenda. I’m very proud that these issues are squarely at the heart of the election campaign in 2014.
Likewise, after becoming the Green Party’s housing spokesperson in 2011, I’ve helped develop Green solutions to the housing crisis, and I was proud to work with Metiria to launch our innovative Progressive Ownership solution during this term. I’m excited about the policies that will soon be announced in this area during the election campaign.
Finally, I’ve been an advocate for transparency and open government through my work on the Lobbying Disclosure Bill. While the bill did not succeed, and there are many things I would do differently if I could do it again, events in recent weeks have made it clear to me that there is still an urgent need for greater transparency in Government, and I hope that my bill has helped to advance the agenda for change in this area.
It’s hard to step aside, but it’s made easier by the fact that I know the people below me on the Green Party list will make such fantastic MPs. I’m really happy that the person who will take my place on the list is James Shaw, one of the hardest working and most successful campaigners I know, who absolutely deserves to be in Parliament. I’m also pleased that my departure means that the talented
Jack MacDonald moves into the Green Party’s top 20, and stands a real chance of becoming an MP if we meet our target of 15 percent of the Party Vote.
I will continue to be an active and enthusiastic member of the Green Party and will work hard in this and future election campaigns to put more Green MPs in Parliament to make the good green changes New Zealand so urgently needs. And, once the dust settles and I have taken some time to look after my family, I will look for another way to make a meaningful contribution to public life. My commitment to do that is unchanged.
Thank you all for your support of me as a Green MP in the last three years.