- Title: New Zealand's Greens pit teenaged activist against Ardern for election
- Date: 15th April 2020
- Summary: AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND (RECENT - MARCH 14, 2020) (REUTERS) NEW ZEALAND GREEN PARTY CANDIDATE FOR SEAT OF MOUNT ALBERT, LUKE WIJOHN STANDING AND WALKING TO GET PAINT AND PAINTBRUSHES AT EVENT FOR GREEN PARTY MEMBERS PERSON PUTTING PAINT BRUSH INTO CAN OF GREEN PAINT VARIOUS OF WIJOHN AND GREEN PARTY MEMBERS PAINTING SIGNS AND PLACARDS GREENS PARTY MEMBER FINISHING SIGN READING (English): "PARTY VOTE GREEN" WIJOHN BEING SEATED FOR INTERVIEW (SOUNDBITE) (English) NEW ZEALAND GREEN PARTY CANDIDATE FOR SEAT OF MOUNT ALBERT, LUKE WIJOHN, SAYING: "I'm going to run my campaign similar to a climate strike, similar to any grass-roots protest where it is about reaching the people, whether you can vote or not and getting you onboard to go out door-knocking, to go out texting, phone calling, having those real conversations, because especially in this modern era when there's lies online, we need to be able to fight that with real conversations about our values." VARIOUS OF WIJOHN AND GREENS MEMBERS PAINTING GREENS LOGO ON HIS PARENT'S FRONT FENCE (SOUNDBITE) (English) NEW ZEALAND GREEN PARTY CANDIDATE FOR SEAT OF MOUNT ALBERT, LUKE WIJOHN, WHEN ASKED ABOUT CURRENT NEW ZEALAND PRIME MINISTER, JACINDA ARDERN: "We see her as a centrist, in between a right-wing party that either denies or delays climate action and us, who says that actually oil drilling needs to stop now, that climate action starts now. We see her as a compromised position between us saying every human deserves the right to vote, whether they are in prison or not, and the national party who would like to strip humans of their rights. And instead, they come for a middle ground, where they try and pick a date or a time where, this is the appropriate amount of human rights to withhold. I think that is why we need the Green Party to be strong enough to pull them to go further and faster." VARIOUS OF LUKE WIJOHN'S MOTHER, ELISA WIJOHN TAKING A PHOTO OF WIJOHN POSING IN FRONT OF GREEN'S LOGO ON THEIR FRONT FENCE (SOUNDBITE) (English) LUKE WIJOHN'S MOTHER, ELISA WIJOHN, SAYING: "The reality is, parliament's a brutal environment, and even being a public figure, particularly with social media, like the comments you get back on anything, or he gets back on anything, yeah it's definitely brutal. But I do know that he's a really solid person, he really likes people, number one, he loves, he likes people, he just always has, he loves people. But he, he is a strong person in himself, he's just, he's solid." VARIOUS OF WIJOHN AT MEETING FOR GREEN PARTY MEMBERS AT HIS PARENT'S HOUSE VARIOUS OF GREENS MEMBERS LISTENING (SOUNDBITE) (English) NEW ZEALAND GREEN PARTY CANDIDATE FOR SEAT OF MOUNT ALBERT, LUKE WIJOHN, SAYING: "I feel like we've gotten so far and where we are at actually lacking these days is in the politics. As in, our rules, our laws are so far behind what they could be, and Green MP's such as Sue Bradford, Catherine Delahunty and so many others have shown that we can actually make laws that are further forward than the culture is ready for and if we are pushing the culture to be better as we have done with the activism and then we are pushing the laws to be better at the same time we can just build it up to get, the environmental revolution, basically." GREENS MEMBERS SEATED AND SOFA AND INTRODUCING THEMSELVES AND WHY THEY JOINED THE GREENS PARTY BADGE READING (English): "I HEART NZ GREEN" (SOUNDBITE) (English) GREEN PARTY MEMBER, RACHEL, SAYING: "Kia Ora, I'm Rachel, I'm here because, again, care about the environment, I was raised by a Green and so now I became a Green." PAINTED SIGN ON GRASS READING (English): "ENTITLED TO A PLANET. VOTE GREEN" PAINTED SIGNS ON GRASS READING (English): "I ONLY DATE BOYS WHO VOTE GREEN" AND "CLIMATE JUSTICE GREEN" VARIOUS OF WIJOHN GREEN PARTY MEMBER PAITNING SIGN GREEN PARTY MEMBERS DIPPING THEIR PAINTBRUSHES INTO GREEN PAINT CAN
- Embargoed: 29th April 2020 11:43
- Keywords: Greens Jacinda Ardern Luke Wijohn New Zealand The Green Party election
- Location: AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND
- City: AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND
- Country: New Zealand
- Topics: Environment
- Reuters ID: LVA001C9QO37R
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Almost a month after his 18th birthday, climate activist Luke Wijohn is busy planning his grass-roots campaign to take down New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a general election later this year, having been selected by the Green Party to contest her constituency.
Hosting his first Green Party political meeting at his parent's home in Auckland, Wijohn, and fellow Greens members busy themselves painting signs. Should he take Auckland's Mount Albert seat off Ardern in the Sept. 19 poll, which appears unlikely, Wijohn would become the youngest lawmaker to be elected in New Zealand.
The aspiring politician is far from an unknown quantity, having gained prominence for organising the "School Strike 4 Climate" marches in the country last year.
Wijohn, speaking to Reuters from his parent's lounge room, said he that he is aiming for "environmental revolution".
"I'm going to run my campaign similar to a climate strike, similar to any grass-roots protest where it is about reaching the people, whether you can vote or not and getting you onboard to go out door-knocking, to go out texting, phone calling, having those real conversations, because especially in this modern era when there's lies online, we need to be able to fight that with real conversations about our values," he said.
Wijohn's activism also led him to a one-year ban from parliament's premises, as the speaker barred him and more than a dozen others for causing disturbances in the public gallery during a protest in support of ethnic Maori land rights.
Wijohn says that he sees New Zealand's Prime Minister Ardern as being in a "compromised position".
"I think that is why we need the Green Party to be strong enough to pull them to go further and faster," he added.
Having become the youngest elected head of state when she won office in 2017, Ardern hardly lacks demographic appeal.
Now 39, she is seen as a liberal, progressive and environment-friendly leader whose coalition, which includes the Green Party, has acted on issues of climate change, social justice, and equality. The Greens, however, want more to be done.
Wijohn's mother, Elisa Wijohn told Reuters that while parliament was a brutal environment, she knows her son can handle the situation because "he loves people. But he is a strong person in himself, he's just, he's solid."
Climate change is a key issue in the election this year. New Zealanders have been shocked in recent months as ash from the bushfires in neighbouring Australia turned its skies red and its glaciers brown.
(Production: Stefica Nicol Bikes)
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