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The Green Party Co-Leader discusses what led her into politics, why we need more wāhine Māori in leadership, and whether she could ever form a government with National.

Growing up in a family of activists, I was always encouraged to stand up for collective justice that would help communities with lesser power,” Marama Davidson tells us via email in the first part of our interview, which will evolve into a Zoom call a few days later. 

This is largely what led me to parliamentary political life. Supporting the kaupapa of Te Pāti Kākāriki and knowing that the decisions we make have our communities at heart, to provide the circumstances for everyone to live good lives.”

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The current Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence and Sexual Violence entered parliament in 2015, aware that she looked different from most of the MPs around her.

This place was not meant to see brown women in leadership roles, and many people are still triggered by our presence alone, but many more know that we are the change that is needed and are supporting us to do so.”

Talking over Zoom, she tells us that her identity and upbringing have made her a fierce protector of Rainbow communities. 

I am wāhine Māori, and I think that needs to be explicit in people getting to know me. That’s why Rainbow rights, takatāpui, and particularly standing with trans people, intersex, and non-binary are important to me. We have a responsibility as wāhine Māori to reject the colonial binary and the colonial understanding of relationships and mana,” she states, adding, Thats part of the decolonizing and re-indigenising of Aotearoa, and why it’s important to stand with our people who have been discriminated against and systemically oppressed by the dominant narrative.”

In 2018, Marama stepped up to be co-leader of the Green Party following Metiria Tureis resignation. Five years on, she tells us that she is proud of the Green Partys impeccable record on human rights and believes that if elected, their policies will continue to positively impact our Rainbow communities.

Actively choosing to end poverty, housing insecurity, and rebalance wealth through a fair tax system will support many Rainbow people, especially young Rainbow people who are disproportionately impacted by housing, poverty, and discrimination,” she tells us with conviction, adding that the Green Party also, plan to establish a new Ministry for Rainbow Communities to give Rainbow and Takatāpui communities a much-needed voice across government.”

We know that transgender, intersex, and Rainbow people must be at the forefront of leading change for their communities,” she insists.

The greatest impact that any political party can have comes from sitting in government, and with most polls predicting a win for National this year – while continuing to highlight climate change and the environment as key issues for voters – is it time that National and the Greens considered working together?

With a wide-eyed expression, Marama delivers a bold answer.

They need to come to us. They need to change their climate pollution priorities. They need to change their environmentally damaging priorities, and they need to stop hating on poor people. They need to stop being racist. So it’s not about us crossing the bridge. If people want to work with us, they need to stop doing exactly the opposite of what we propose and what we stand for.”

We’ll be happy to work with anybody who believes in a better world and a better Aotearoa, but at the moment, they are spouting exactly the opposite. They want more climate pollution, more profit, and corporate success at the disaster of the environment, and they want to benefit their rich mates. If they want to work with us, they need to think about their values,” she tells us staunchly, confirming that the same principles that brought her into politics remain steadfast.

To find out more about Marama and her team visit greens.org.nz

Article | Oliver Hall.

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