Ricardo Menéndez March

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Ricardo Menéndez March

Ricardo Menendez March crop.jpg
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Green party list
Assumed office
17 October 2020
Personal details
Born1987/1988 (age 32–34)[1]
Political partyGreen

Ricardo Menéndez March is a Mexican-born New Zealand activist and politician who, since 2020, is a Member of Parliament for the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand in the House of Representatives.[2]

Early life and career[edit]

Menéndez March migrated to New Zealand from Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. He worked as a film projectionist for a decade in Auckland, but was made redundant due to film digitisation. After that role, he worked in hospitality, then in migrant advocacy.[3]

Menéndez March served as male co-convenor of Young Greens of Aotearoa New Zealand in 2016.[4] At an AUSA 2016 Back Benches debate, a group of Young NZ First members started chanting “Build the Wall” at Menéndez March, who is of Mexican descent. Young NZ First later apologised to him.[5]

Menéndez March is the coordinator for Auckland Action Against Poverty,[6] a role he took up in late 2017. A writer for Stuff described him in 2020 as "a thorn in the side of the Labour-led Government in the past few years". In this role he had frequently appeared on television, radio, and quoted in newspapers – once a week on average, by his estimate – stating that the Government is failing the poor, that benefits are too low, that and housing is too expensive.[3] Menéndez March has been particularly critical of Kiwibuild, arguing that the scheme should be targeted towards working poor and unemployed families and that the current set up will make home ownership rates fall further by encouraging increased property speculation and gentrification.[7] Menéndez March is gay.[8]

Political career[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate List Party
2020–present 53rd List 10 Green

Menéndez March ran for the Green Party in the 2017 New Zealand general election. He ran in the Mount Roskill electorate and received 1,200 votes.[3] He was 21 on the party list, and was placed too far down to be allocated a seat.[9]

For the 2020 New Zealand general election, Menéndez March was placed tenth on the Green party list, and ran for the Maungakiekie electorate.[10] During the election campaign, he criticised his party co-leader James Shaw for supporting $11.7m of funding for a private green school.[11] Menéndez March did not win the Maungakiekie electorate, coming third place behind the National MP Denise Lee and Labour MP Priyanca Radhakrishnan, with 2,666 votes.[12] However, the Greens received 7.9% of the party vote (226,754),[13] and his list placement was high enough for him to enter Parliament as a list MP.[14][15] Menéndez March was one of three new Green MPs in the 53rd Parliament.[2][16]

Prior to sitting in Parliament, Menéndez March expressed reluctance to swearing the required Oath of Allegiance to the Queen of New Zealand, Elizabeth II. He posted a meme about it, which received criticism from monarchists. However, he still took the oath.[17]

In December 2020, Menéndez March travelled to Mexico during the COVID-19 pandemic to care for his family. His step-mother had aggressive cancer and had been given months to live, and his father had had major surgery with long-lasting effects. The person who had cared for the couple had become extremely ill herself and was unable to care for them.[18] He was criticised by opposition leader Judith Collins for doing so.[19]


  1. ^ "Compare the candidates for Maungakiekie — NZ Election 2020". Your complete guide to NZ Election 2020 — Policy.
  2. ^ a b "Election 2020: The 40 diverse new MPs entering Parliament". The New Zealand Herald. 18 October 2020. Retrieved 8 November 2020 – via Newstalk ZB.
  3. ^ a b c Manch, Thomas (25 May 2020). "A poverty agitator, a climate negotiator, and a psychotherapist take on doomed mission for the Greens". Stuff. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  4. ^ "First Latin American To Stand For New Zealand Parliament | Scoop News". www.scoop.co.nz. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  5. ^ "Winston's children: meet the tempestuous youth wing of NZ First". 11 September 2017. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  6. ^ Scanlon, Glen (8 May 2020). "Work and Income acts 'unlawfully' over benefits and redundancy payments". Radio New Zealand. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  7. ^ Palmer, Scott (29 October 2018). "KiwiBuild 'not aimed at low-income families' – Phil Twyford". Newshub. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  8. ^ Thomas, Anna (20 October 2018). "Ricardo Menéndez March – first gay Mexican Green MP". Radio New Zealand. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  9. ^ "Green Party unveils strongest ever candidate list". Green Party (via Scoop.co.nz). 30 May 2017. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  10. ^ Manhire, Toby (25 May 2020). "Green Party list ranking revealed: can this group lift them over the threshold?". The Spinoff. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  11. ^ Moir, Jo (28 August 2020). "World Politics Pacific Te Ao Māori Sport Business Country Local Democracy Reporting Comment & Analysis In Depth Weather POLITICS COVID-196 minutes ago Pressure on Green co-leader James Shaw to pull support for Taranaki Green School". Radio New Zealand. Retrieved 28 August 2020.
  12. ^ "Maungakiekie – Official Result". Electoral Commission. 6 November 2020. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  13. ^ "2020 General Election and Referendums – Official Result: Nationwide Party Votes Results". Electoral Commission. 6 November 2020. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  14. ^ Thomas, Anna (20 October 2020). "Ricardo Menéndez March – first gay Mexican Green MP". Radio New Zealand. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
  15. ^ "2020 General Election and Referendums – Official Result Successful Candidates". Electoral Commission. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  16. ^ Lynch, Jenna (6 November 2020). "NZ Election 2020: Judith Collins will 'definitely not' stand down as leader despite National's crushing defeat". Newshub. Retrieved 8 November 2020.
  17. ^ "Opening of Parliament: What happens today and how some MPs will navigate swearing allegiance to the Queen". NZ Herald. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  18. ^ "New Green MP travelled to Mexico to see step-mother who has aggressive cancer". Stuff. 10 February 2021. Retrieved 10 February 2021.
  19. ^ McCulloch, Craig (10 February 2021). "Green Party gave list MP Ricardo Menéndez March permission to travel overseas". RNZ. Retrieved 10 February 2021.

External links[edit]