Candidates

Vernon Tava | List Ranking 1 | Auckland Central Electorate

Vernon is the founder and leader of the Sustainable New Zealand Party. He is a practising barrister, specialising in criminal defence. He was elected for two terms as a member of the Waitematā Local Board of Auckland Council. He is a certified resource consent commissioner and holds a Master of Laws degree with first class honours in environmental law.  

He founded the party out of a concern that, for too long, a vote for the environment has also meant a vote to the left of Labour and a grab-bag of fringe issues. Sustainable New Zealand has been formed to put sustainability at the centre of politics and save the environment from being just a left-wing issue.

Mari Huusko | List Ranking 2 | North Shore Electorate

Mari is a Director of New Sol Renewables, a commercial renewable energy system solution provider. She also works as a Business Development Executive at BECA’s New Ventures division, Building Services B-Tune, that specialises in building energy efficiencies. 

Mari was born in Finland, and holds a Bachelor in Business Administration from Mercuria Business School in Helsinki as well as gaining a professional certification from Stanford University. 

Mari is passionate about building strong relationships with, and implementing creative solutions for, climate-resilient and future-focussed businesses in New Zealand. As an experienced practitioner in the renewables and innovation sectors she is dedicated to working toward a truly sustainable economy to create jobs, increase energy efficiencies, reduce emissions and provide long-term renewable solutions to New Zealand and the world.

John Hyndman | List Ranking 3 | Waimakariri Electorate

John is a recently-retired specialist anaesthetist and builds compact, affordable and reliable anaesthetic machines for developing countries. He won the New Zealand Innovator of the Year Award in 2016 and was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) in 2017.

John lives on a small farmlet near Christchurch with his wife Daphne. His home is ‘off grid’ and is designed to be self-sufficient. As a father of 6 children and 9 grandchildren he has a passionate desire to see New Zealand prosper while retaining its unique cultural and environmental heritage. 

John believes that our unique natural environment is sacrosanct and we all have a solemn duty to protect it. We need to add value to our raw export commodities which involves an emphasis on innovation, education and a determination to raise the living standards of all New Zealanders.

Rachel Wood | List Ranking 4 | Pakuranga Electorate

Rachel is a recent Business graduate with a Master’s degree in economics from Auckland University of Technology (AUT). She is due to officially begin her career at GHD Advisory, as a Graduate Advisor in the Business Case and Economics team, early next year. As a student, she discovered a passion for resource management, environmental economics, and social development. 

She is interested in improving the sustainability of social and economic activity through innovative solutions and effective policies targeted at preserving our natural environment. Rachel believes that the key to sustainability is investing in renewable sources of energy to create a circular life cycle in the consumption of our resources. This will allow natural ecosystems to regenerate and provide ‘ecosystem services’, such as clean drinking water and fresh air. 

In her spare time, Rachel practices mindfulness through yoga and meditation, spends time with family and likes to paint.

Shannon Withers | List Ranking 5 | Epsom Electorate

Shannon is a barrister who runs a successful practice specialising in criminal law. He is alert to the need for clear and transparent legislation and is keen to bring this practical legal experience to the drafting of law. 

His five-year-old daughter is his inspiration in working for a better future and underscores the need for sustainability in all senses: environmental, economic and social. He loves his home in Epsom, working on his garden whenever he can and feels a strong connection to the ocean and the Hauraki Gulf. 

Growing up as a Kiwi diplomat’s son in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and the Americas, Shannon has an insight into how many things we get right here but also the scope we have to improve – especially confidence in our own unique experience and stewardship. 

Peter Fleming | List Ranking 6  | Botany Electorate

Peter owns and runs a successful travel business having been self-employed for over 30 years in media, tourism, technology and travel. He was born in Wellington but has lived in East Auckland since he was 9 years old.

He has been involved with community service clubs throughout his life and is currently the president of his local Lions Club. He is a keen fisherman and tramper.

He is a proud grandfather, is passionate about our local and national environment, and making New Zealand a better place for future generations. Peter’s family originally immigrated in 1852 and are immensely proud of being Kiwis. He is dedicated to ensuring that our cultural traditions and Te Tiriti are honoured and that new immigrants are welcomed. 

Brian Mowat-Gainsford | List Ranking 7 | Waitaki Electorate

Brian is a father of 4 children and has lived in the Waitaki district for 25 years being involved in many local community groups and projects in this time. He has worked as a truck and bus driver, an alternative education tutor and a tyre technician. 

As a rural New Zealander he would like to see more being done with farmers and other groups to improve our water quality in a joint effort to sustain our waterways for future generations of New Zealand.

Having spent many years as a professional driver, he is motivated to see improvements to our roading and rail systems throughout New Zealand.

Dean Riddell | List Ranking 8 | List-only candidate based in Wellington Central

Dean is an environmental consultant to the property and construction sector in Wellington with almost 40 years’ experience. He was on the founding board of the Green Building Council and served as its chairman from 2009-2011. He has also served on the board of the New Zealand Property Council. 

Born in Huntly, to parents who were Te Kauwhata farmers, Dean moved to Wellington at age 16  to  study Property and Construction at Wellington Polytechnic (now Massey University). He has lived there ever since and is married with two teenage children and a Schnauzer. 

His interests outside of work are organic gardening, cooking, family and engaging with community.

John Davies | List Ranking 9 | Whangaparāoa Electorate

John Davies harks from Ōrewa, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. A “coastie” since 2002 he’s lived in and around Auckland almost all his life. He works in the not-for-profit sector and finding ways to make NGOs sustainable is part of his everyday life.

He runs a community theatre as well as volunteering as a Trustee of a local place-making trust in Whangaparāoa and one of the regional Life Education Trusts covering the Rodney area. 

John is a believer in giving back to build a better world for our descendants to inherit. We all need to work with principles of kaitiakitanga in our thinking and decision-making for the future.

Dion Thomas | List Ranking 10 | Upper Harbour Electorate

Dion is a University of Auckland graduate with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in economics. He has founded and runs his own construction and property management company.

He is a qualified volunteer firefighter with Fire and Emergency New Zealand and has been a Kaipara coastguard volunteer with Coastguard New Zealand.

Bevan Read | List Ranking 11 | Northcote Electorate

Bevan holds a Communications Degree from the University of Otago and is currently undergoing an electrical trade apprenticeship.  Bevan believes his interest in environmental policy springs from his extensive travels where he built an appreciation for efforts overseas and the amazing assets we have at home. 

Coming from a media background Bevan has been an impartial observer to New Zealand politics but has decided that now is the time to stand and nail his colours to mast of the Sustainable New Zealand party: “it is important to bring the Environment back into focus, there is no reason why being ‘green’ should be a left wing position.”

Having recently purchased their first home in Glenfield, Bevan and his wife Irina are looking forward to the chance to engage with the local community.  Bevan believes strongly in the benefits of a strong vibrant environment, not only socially and on health but also for the economy.