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Jeanette Fitzsimons, CNZM
Jeanette Fitzsimons was the co-leader of the Green Party from 1995 to 2009, and a Member of Parliament from 1996 to 2010. However, she was involved in the environmental movement and Green politics in New Zealand for many years before entering Parliament.
In a radio interview on her retirement, she talked about the people and books which influenced her life. In this excerpt, Fitzsimons explains that in 1972 she read the newly-released report Limits to Growth by the Club of Rome, which predicted that over-exploitation of Earth's finite resources would lead to environmental collapse in the first half of the 21st century. She says reading works like this were a powerful influence in her thinking and future political career.
As a young mother and university lecturer she joined the Values Party – a forerunner of the Greens – in the mid-1970s, and began standing as a candidate for election in 1978. Fitzsimons and her husband farm near Thames. In the 1996 election she entered Parliament as a list MP and in 1999 she was elected by the Coromandel electorate.
Throughout her political career she campaigned for Parliament to take action on the issues of climate change, anti-nuclear policy and mining of fossil fuels and in her valedictory speech chided MPs for being in-denial about "the mirage of GDP". Fitzsimons has remained active in these fields since her retirement from Parliament in 2010. In that year she was also made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to public life.
Find out more about Jeanette Fitzsimons:
Listen to the full 2010 interview with Jeanette Fitzsimons.
Listen to a report on Fitzsimons' valedictory speech from Parliament.
Read more about Fitzsimons' work and record in Parliament.
Image: Jeanette Fitzsimons (courtesy The Green Party via Wikimedia Commons) Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Catalogue Reference 147686
Interviewer: Chris Laidlaw, Ideas, RNZ National