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Greens make sure they maintain youthful looks

Nov 21st, 2011 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

PARLIAMENT may be seen as the arena for older and more experienced minds to test their metal but the Green Party appears ready to flood the caucus with youngsters.

Out of the party’s 30 listed candidates, 20% are 35 and under, while 26% of their total 60 election candidates are 35 and under.

IMAGE: Courtesy of the Green party

One News’ Colmar Brunton poll released for the week ending November 17 shows a 4% increase in party support.

The poll puts the Greens at 13%, a figure which would give them an estimated 16 seats in parliament as a result.

This estimate shows the party’s gradual climb in popularity since the 2008 election when it received 6.7% of the vote and nine seats in Parliament.

Green MP Gareth Hughes suggests it is the young list and focus on youth that drives a lot of party support.

“We have often been seen as the voice of young people in Parliament,” he says.

“We often poll considerably higher with young voters.”

An example of the party’s inclination toward youth is the inclusion of 22-year-old Zachary Dorner (right) at number 30 on the list.

Mr Dorner says list selection is a process that the party does quite democratically and there is a need for that youth balance.

“Most people in politics are over 35. That is not really representative of people,” he says.

“It’s thinking more progressively about what needs to be done.”

He says the Greens are quite modern with some of their ideas and it’s these fresh and forward thinking perspectives that attract New Zealand youth.

“It’s the green culture,” he says.

Mr Dorner bases most of his campaigning at Victoria University and works with a younger demographic as a result.

“I think when you go up against older people they can be patronising,” he says.

“You are kind of in a minority there.”

Mr Hughes, himself aged 30 and number seven on the party list, says  it is party policy to include at least one under 35-year-old on the list each election.

“It’s a house of representatives so it should be representative of everybody,” he says.

“It’s not an old boys club.”

Mr Hughes says inexperience is always an issue and that younger candidates have got to work hard to gain that credible representation in parliament.

No other political parties provide candidate’s ages on their respective websites.

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