Kevin Hague is the Green Party candidate for West Coast-Tasman.
What do you think are the three greatest problems New Zealanders are facing at the moment?
The inequalities in our society are amongst the worst in the developed world, and getting worse, our environment is becoming rapidly degraded and put at more risk, and we have a stupid economy based on short-term thinking that makes those problems worse rather than better.
What have you done thus far to help?
The Green Party has strongly opposed the Government’s actions (and inactions) where these have led New Zealand in the wrong direction, and have always offered alternative approaches that would set us on the right track. Where it has been possible we have worked with other parties, including National, to promote good solutions. Projects like the home insulation scheme and the NZ Cycle Trail Network have been joint projects of the Green Party with National.
What do you intend to do as an MP to help?
If the Green Party is in Government we will be in a much stronger position to advance smarter economic policies, a fairer society and a cleaner environment. My particular passion is Health, which we desperately need to set back on the right direction.
Why should our readers give you their party vote?
The Green Party has never been part of a government, but we love New Zealand and have consistently shown that we have the innovative ideas, the practical orientation and the leadership and courage to deliver great outcomes for our society, our environment and our economy. For LGBT communities we have the best policy, a track record of every one of our MPs always voting the right way on legislation that affects us, and a proven reputation of actually doing the “heavy lifting” to back up and implement the issues we advocate for.
What do you believe are the biggest issues specifically facing the GLBT community?
While we must continue to tackle the last few remaining areas of legal inequality (especially for trans* people) the bigger issue is creating a more supportive society that genuinely supports and celebrates diversity. I’m particularly concerned about young people. It is completely unacceptable for young people to still need to come out into an environment that is still all too often hostile, and this ripples out through all aspects of our lives, especially health.
What have you done thus far to address these?
I have continued my community-based advocacy and activism from Parliament. For example it was the Greens that tackled John Key’s “gay red top” casual homophobia and Colin Craig’s anti-gay attitudes and policies. We were intimately involved in the successful marriage equality campaign and I have worked with Nikki Kaye to develop comprehensive adoption law reform. In the last Parliament we produced a plan for how the social environment can be made better for LGBT youth right now, and we have just published a report that pinpoints the specific failings of our Education system that require specific change.
Do you intend to address any of those if are successful at the next election. If so, how?
Yes. If we are in Government we expect to be able to prioritise changing legislation and policy in the areas Jan and I have been working in to achieve big improvements for our communities. We are ready to go.
What would be your message to the New Zealanders so disillusioned by politics that they are not planning to vote this election?
It may feel like just one vote doesn’t make a difference, but people need to know that at the last election just a handful of votes separated a National-led government from a Green/Labour-led one, and more people didn’t vote than voted for National. Every vote really does count. Your vote can make a positive difference. Choosing not to vote hands power to someone else.
Complete the following sentences:
When I leave politics I would like my political career to be remembered for… being brave enough to tackle hard issues, and combining passion and hard work to actually get things done.
Winston Peters is… a seasoned politician.
To be a great Prime Minister you need to… articulate and implement the principle that the point of government is to enact our collective responsibility to care for each other and for the environment we depend on.
Kim Dotcom is… an unhelpful distraction.
Nice guys finish… at the same time.
New Zealand is… a country with the chance to be truly great.