This morning we emailed over a quarter of a million Greenpeace supporters to tell them that Russel Norman has been appointed to replace me as executive director of Greenpeace New Zealand when I step down later this year.
Some will be surprised to hear that a guy more accustomed to sitting inside Parliament is joining an organisation that’s more used to climbing it – but I firmly believe Russel is the right man for the job.
Russel has the leadership skills, optimism, energy, vision and commitment to the environment that we need. And he shares our belief that people power is the key to bringing about positive change, and that civil disobedience and nonviolent direct action are vital to a healthy, robust democracy.
Here’s what Russel had to say this morning:
“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.”
So welcome aboard Russel – it’s going to be great to have you with us on the outside where the real power is!