Russel Norman to Lead Greenpeace New Zealand

Press release - September 11, 2015
Russel Norman, one of the country’s most high-profile politicians, will leave Parliament later this year and take the reins as executive director of Greenpeace New Zealand.

Norman will stand down as an MP and as a member of the Green Party in October, before taking over at Greenpeace in November.

He’ll succeed Bunny McDiarmid, who has spent ten years leading the environmental campaigning group.

Over a quarter of a million Greenpeace New Zealand supporters will receive an email telling them the news this morning.

Announcing the appointment today, Stephanie Mills, chair of Greenpeace New Zealand’s board, said:

“We’re really pleased to say that Russel Norman is going to be the next executive director of Greenpeace New Zealand.

“Some people may be surprised that someone used to sitting inside Parliament is joining an organisation more used to climbing it.

“But, besides Russel’s obvious commitment to the environment and his leadership skills, he’s got the job because of his optimism and vision, his strong belief that people power is key to bringing about change for the better and his commitment to civil disobedience and direct action as a core part of a healthy, robust democracy.

“Greenpeace New Zealand has thousands of wonderful supporters, and staff members who are creative and passionate. The organisation is in great shape, and that’s thanks to the excellent work that Bunny has done.”

This morning, Russel Norman said:

“I’m very excited to be joining the Greenpeace team - the world’s leading environmental campaigning organisation.

“The Earth is our only home and the only way to protect this precious world is if ordinary people come together to do extraordinary things. Greenpeace is a catalyst for those actions and it’s where I want to put my energy. Whether it is taking nonviolent direct action to halt risky oil drilling, bringing people to the streets to oppose mining in national parks, or promoting solar power solutions to the climate crisis, Greenpeace ignites people into action.

“Greenpeace’s political and financial independence, non-violent direct action and creative confrontation are enormously attractive to me. It is these values that I believe form the basis of being able to bring about change, and create a better, cleaner, more peaceful world.

“Before I start at Greenpeace in November, I’ll be standing down as a Member of Parliament.

“Greenpeace’s staunch position on political independence is one I have always had huge respect for and it is for this reason that I will also be resigning from the Green Party.

“I’d like to acknowledge the superb job that Bunny McDiarmid has done as head of Greenpeace over the last decade. And I’d like all of Greenpeace’s supporters to know that, as your new executive director, I’ll do everything I can to continue that tradition of great leadership.”