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Back in political arena

FORMER Green MP Gareth Hughes, two years after his retirement from parliament, has decided to re-enter public political debate.

But the born-and-bred Gisbornite is keeping away from parliamentary and party politics to become the “country lead” of the Wellbeing Economy Alliance or WEALL Aotearoa.

The organisation operates in 13 countries. It is described as a collaboration of organisations, alliances, movements and individuals working towards a wellbeing economy, delivering human and ecological wellbeing.

Mr Hughes moved to Quarantine Island/Kamau Taurua in Otago Harbour after retiring from parliamentary politics at the 2020 general election.

His wife Meghan had been appointed as the new keeper of the island, responsible for bringing people to the island, welcoming school groups and acting as caretaker.

The couple and their two children were the only residents on the island.

“That was an amazing experience,” said Mr Hughes.

He became a list MP in 2010 when Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons retired.

During the past two years he has written a biography of Ms Fitzsimons which is to be published next month, and worked part-time for a new national food rescue alliance.

But now, “I'm jumping back into political debate”.

He said leading WEALL Aoteraoa was a great privilege.

“I believe the most important mission facing us is building an economy that works for people and the planet.

“Climate change, homelessness, poverty and inequality aren't bugs in the system — they are consequences of a system that needs to change urgently to preserve our health, wealth and survival.”

Mr Hughes said the organisation would become an established organisation with full-time staff, and to continue to expand on the more recent work of WEALL volunteers in New Zealand to study, pilot and co-create wellbeing economy policies.

“New Zealand has a long-standing history of work on wellbeing indicators and policy.

“By genuinely embracing Te Tiriti o Waitangi, Aotearoa New Zealand has a unique opportunity to reframe what's important — revisioning a focus on money and economic growth into kotahitanga (unity), whanaungatanga (close connection) and kaitiakitanga (guardianship).

“New Zealand's wellbeing-centred response to the Covid pandemic has impressed many people across the world and I look forward to working with government, researchers, businesses and campaigners in Aotearoa to grow momentum and move faster towards a wellbeing economy.”

Mr Hughes said he had stepped down as a Green Party member to ensure the political independence of his new role and to effectively advocate for a well-being economy.

Gareth Hughes

  1. Peter Jones says:

    Just stick to quarantine. Try your theories out there and if they work, let us know.