Wellington Scoop

Gareth Hughes leaving Parliament after ten years

RNZ photo

Green Party list MP Gareth Hughes today announced that he will be leaving Parliament next year.

News from Gareth Hughes on Facebook
I’ve got some big news. Today I’m announcing I’m going to retire from Parliament at the 2020 Election. I was elected as a 28 year-old, and after more than ten years here I reckon it’s time to move on. My two kids have grown up knowing nothing but Dad working constantly, travelling heaps and always on his phone – I can’t wait to stop flying, Facebook and always thinking about politics. Mostly I just want to spend quality time with my family.

I’ve loved my time as a Green MP and it’s been a huge privilege to serve. A priority for me has been trying to keep fossil fuels in the ground. My proudest achievement was the oil and gas offshore permit ban and ending most fossil fuel subsidies this term. I was stoked to get the Government to adopt the 100% renewable electricity goal. Under National I was able to effectively campaign to ban shark finning and in Parliament I successfully got the Country of Origin Food Bill passed and cross-party agreement for a New Zealand Wars memorial in the House. There’s heaps more I’m proud of achieving and I know the team will continue to deliver good green change in the future.

I’ve been reflecting how I’ve spent my entire adult life campaigning for progressive causes with Greenpeace, the Green Party and other groups.

I’ve protested, petitioned, organised, and lobbied. I got myself arrested and got myself elected and at times I’ve won and changed a policy or a law but now, after twenty years of fighting campaigns every victory has simply been like cutting off the Hydra’s head – there’s always another crucial campaign and cause to follow.

I now realise I’ve been fighting the symptoms, not the source.

Looking at the world and New Zealand in 2019, things we thought were design bugs, like increasing poverty, inequality and environmental collapse aren’t accidents, they are system features.

The big question I have been asking myself is how do we find an alternative to our Neoliberal operating system?

I believe there’s a hunger for real systemic change. We need to develop a transformational vision for a new Aotearoa – a vision, not just for next quarter, or next financial year, but the next decade and century.

Parliament was just one outlet for my activism. I will continue to campaign for stronger climate action, social justice and animal welfare – and most of all transformative change outside the House.

I want to thank you being part of my journey. I want to thank the Green Party for the privilege to serve and all my Caucus colleagues over the years. I want to thank my partner most of all for being the person who has made all my work possible.


  1. Grant Robertson, 17. November 2019, 13:32

    Thanks for your commitment and wisdom Gareth. I have really enjoyed working with you. I know you won’t be lost to environmental and progressive causes. Take care. [via twitter]

  2. Iona Pannett, 17. November 2019, 14:32

    Sad news but completely understand your reasoning Gareth. Thank you for the huge role that you have played in making Aotearoa a better place! [via twitter]