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Greens Co-Leader Marama Davidson Announces Breast Cancer Diagnosis: A Community Rallies in Support

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson announces her cancer diagnosis today. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Wellington, New Zealand – June 17, 2024

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson has announced her diagnosis of breast cancer, a revelation that has prompted an outpouring of support from across New Zealand's political and public spheres. Davidson, a prominent figure in New Zealand politics known for her dedication to social justice and environmental issues, is set to undergo a partial mastectomy in early July and will take a four-month leave from Parliament to focus on her recovery.

Early Detection and Advocacy

Davidson's cancer was detected during a routine mammogram about a month ago. Emphasising the importance of early detection, she has urged wāhine (women) across New Zealand to prioritise their health and undergo regular screenings. The incidence of breast cancer is disproportionately high among Māori women, a statistic that Davidson highlighted in her announcement. "I have held off telling people about my diagnosis while I continue to focus on parliamentary work," Davidson shared, underscoring her commitment to her role even amidst personal health challenges.

Green Party co-leaders, Marama Davidson and Chlöe Swarbrick attended a press conference today with Green MPs. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Support from Political Leaders and Colleagues

The response to Davidson's announcement has been overwhelmingly supportive. Prime Minister Christopher Luxon extended his well-wishes, saying, "My thoughts are with Marama Davidson and her family at this time. I wish her all the very best for a speedy recovery and hope she can join us in Parliament again soon."

Acting Prime Minister and NZ First leader Winston Peters echoed these sentiments, wishing Davidson a swift recovery and expressing that his thoughts are with her.

Labour Party leader Chris Hipkins also conveyed his support, stating, "Receiving health news like this is never easy, and the Labour Party is wishing Marama Davidson the best for her upcoming surgery and recovery. We tautoko her message – don’t put off being checked. I am relieved for Marama, her family, friends, and colleagues by her comment that this was picked up early."

Davidson's co-leader, Chlöe Swarbrick, praised her strength and resilience. "She carries the kind of power that never needs to announce itself as it cloaks you in warmth, generosity, and understanding," Swarbrick wrote on Instagram. She pledged to support Davidson during her absence and highlighted the collaborative spirit within the Green Party.

Public and Organisational Support

Davidson’s announcement has led to an outpouring of support on social media. The Green Party’s official accounts shared messages of solidarity, and Green MPs have been reposting these messages to show their support.

Māori Party co-leader Debbie Anne Ngarewa-Packer expressed her hopes for Davidson’s swift recovery and offered her unwavering support. Minister of Defence and former National Party leader Judith Collins also expressed sympathy, noting the importance of early detection.

Ah-Leen Rayner, Chief Executive of Breast Cancer Foundation NZ, expressed the organisation’s support for Davidson and highlighted the critical importance of early detection. "We wish her a full and speedy recovery," Rayner said. She noted that the survival rate for breast cancer detected via mammogram can be as high as 95 percent, urging women to prioritize regular screenings.

Privacy and Future Plans

Davidson has requested privacy during her time off, which will begin after Matariki at the end of the month. She reassured her supporters and colleagues that the Green Party has previously managed with only one co-leader and will continue to function effectively during her absence. Davidson remains determined to stay on as co-leader following her treatment and intends to return with renewed vigor to continue her work for social justice and environmental sustainability.

As Davidson prepares for her upcoming surgery and treatment, the support from her colleagues, political leaders, and the public reflects the deep respect and admiration she has garnered throughout her career. Her message of early detection and health advocacy serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of regular health check-ups and the strength of community support in facing personal challenges.


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