After 18 years in Parliament, the Green Party has finally made it into government. Its confidence-and supply-arrangement with Labour includes three yet-to-be-announced ministerial portfolios, giving the Greens more power than the party has ever held.
While the country waits to see what policy concessions New Zealand First has managed to obtain from Labour, an internal email from Green Party leader James Shaw to party members revealed some of the gains made by the Greens. These included the promise of a referendum on the full legalisation of cannabis for personal use by 2020.
Greens leader James Shaw told the New Zealand Herald the "prohibition model" hadn't worked with regards to marijuana and had merely given control of the trade over to gangs. He said the use of marijuana should be treated as a health—and not a criminal justice—issue. "If you had a regulated market, the same way we do with alcohol and tobacco, you can control the price, advertising, point of sale, quality, and run full public health education campaigns."
The email outlined a host of other policy gains for the Green Party, including the establishment of an independent climate commission and, an increase in the conservation budget, free counselling for under-25s, and an overhaul of the welfare system, including the removal of "excessive sanctions".