Election Night Speech – James Shaw

Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand

On Election Night three years ago I stood up in front of you to say, “We are still here!”

Well, tonight, not only are we still here, we are the first support party in MMP history to have started and finished a term in government above the 5% threshold.

We are stronger at the end of our first term in Government than we were at the beginning.

We have defied the odds. We have made history. You have made history.

Tonight, we move another step closer towards our better future.

A zero carbon Aotearoa where everyone has enough to make ends meet and provide for their families, and where our native wildlife is thriving.

And we move forward because of you.

Whether you picked up the phone, put up billboards, or knocked on doors.

Whether you’re one of the tens of thousands of young people who took to the streets last year to demand action on climate change and, today, have voted for the first time.

Whatever part you played, your contribution will be felt for not only the next three years, but generations.

You used your power to make a difference, and tonight’s result belongs to you.

Of the five general election campaigns I have fought, this one had, by far, the strongest ground campaign the Greens have ever had.

To give you a sense of things, in 2017 we had over 5,000 volunteers. This year, we had over 7,000.

That’s all of you good people.

You made over 166,000 phone calls.

When COVID-19 alert levels allowed, you knocked on over 40,000 doors.

You spoke to, all up, at least 43,000 people.

Leading this team of 7,000 were our field organisers, our campaign leadership team, our campaign managers and, of course, the front line of the campaign – our candidates.

The community leaders, the business people, doctors, students, campaigners, and activists who put their hands up to run, not because they thought it would be easy, but because of a deeply held belief in our capacity to work together to leave behind an Aotearoa that is better for what we did.

We thank every single one of you from the bottom of our hearts.

We can’t thank every one of you by name.

But I do want to thank all of you – through one extraordinary person, and that is our Campaign Director, Matt Thomas.

Matt – thank you.

And thank you to the amazing team that you built and who led this campaign on behalf of all of us.

To our caucus, thank you.

Not only the seven incredible MPs I have had the privilege to work alongside over the last three years, but also Wiremu, Penny and the broader team who work behind the scenes to make the Green Party happen – thank you.

From the preliminary results it does look like this extraordinary team will be joined on Monday by Teanau Tuiono, Elizabeth Kerekere, Ricardo Menendez-March and Steve Abel.

Lasting change demands that we keep working every single day and I look forward to working with each and everyone of you over the next three years.

I do want to thank my amazing team in Wellington Central – I wish I could be with you tonight to celebrate… But I hear the venue is packed and there’s a line out the door so I probably wouldn’t get in any way.

Last but not least, I would not be here today without the love and support of my mothers and my wife, Annabel.

Thank you.

As I have travelled the country, I have been reminded every day why we do what we do.

Why elections matter.

I have seen it at organisations I’ve been to like Wellington City Mission, who do such amazing work to help families find a safe place to live, or to put food on the table.

I have seen it in the community groups working to restore nature, clean our rivers, and protect our marine environment.

I have seen on regenerative farms, in tech companies, in local business, and at local markets, where the very best ingenuity and creativity can be seen.

Every step of the way, I have been proud to share with New Zealanders a vision of the future where every person in New Zealand, no matter who they are, or where they are from, or how they started, has what they need to lead fulfilling and meaningful lives.

And tonight we are in the best possible position we can be to make that happen.

So, tonight, let’s celebrate, for tomorrow we have work to do.

Nō reira…

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