New kids on the po­lit­i­cal block get ready for life af­ter their elec­tion

Sunday Star-Times - - ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2017 -

Deb­o­rah Lynn

Deb­o­rah Rus­sell was des­per­ately house hunt­ing while also run­ning for Par­lia­ment. The mother-of-three re­signed from her job as a se­nior tax lec­turer at Massey Uni­ver­sity in Palmer­ston North and moved to Auck­land to run for the New Lynn seat, hop­ing to take the place of for­mer Labour leader David Cun­liffe, who stepped out of pol­i­tics af­ter hold­ing the seat for 15 years.

Rus­sell’s three teenage daugh­ters and hus­band, who is an aca­demic at Massey Uni­ver­sity, also packed their bags and moved with her. Born in Whang­amomona, a small vil­lage in the Manawatu-Wan­ganui Re­gion, Rus­sell grew up around New Ply­mouth and says west Auck­land had a sim­i­lar com­mu­nity feel.

Be­fore mov­ing to Auck­land she stood as her party’s can­di­date for the Ran­gi­tikei elec­torate in 2014, which she lost to Na­tional’s Ian McKelvie.

Rus­sell has worked in the pri­vate sec­tor, in­clud­ing run­ning her own small con­sult­ing com­pany, as well as lec­tur­ing at uni­ver­si­ties in Aus­tralia and New Zealand. She said she moved into pol­i­tics so she could help change ideas into law.

Chloe Swar­brick, Maun­gakiekie - Cen­tral

At 23 years old, Chloe Swar­brick was the fresh­est face vy­ing for the Maun­gakiekie elec­torate, and one of the youngest po­ten­tial MPs in 42 years.

Swar­brick’s rise to promi­nence came dur­ing the 2016 Auck­land may­oral race where she fin­ished third, beat­ing a num­ber of sea­soned politi­cians.

Shortly af­ter, she an­nounced her in­ten­tions to run for the Green Party.

By May Swar­brick had quickly as­cended through the ranks, find­ing her­self placed at num­ber nine on the party’s list.

She cam­paigned on mo­bil­is­ing young peo­ple by plac­ing spe­cific fo­cus on youth ori­ented is­sues such as men­tal health is­sues, ed­u­ca­tion, hous­ing af­ford­abil­ity and so­cial is­sues.

How­ever, she has said pol­i­tics was not a long-term plan, and look­ing to­wards the fu­ture, she would like to shift fo­cus onto con­sti­tu­tional re­form.

Prior to en­ter­ing the po­lit­i­cal arena, Rus­sell, Labour, New Greens Swar­brick dab­bled in a myr­iad of un­der­tak­ings in­clud­ing four years vol­un­teer­ing at 95bFM as a jour­nal­ist and ra­dio host. Ta­mati Cof­fey, Labour, Wa­iariki Be­fore Break­fast, be­fore Danc­ing with the Stars, be­fore New Zealand’s Got Tal­ent, be­fore all of that it was the Bee­hive.

It’s al­ways been pol­i­tics for Ta­mati Cof­fey, since leav­ing Auck­land Uni­ver­sity with a de­gree in po­lit­i­cal sci­ence back in 2003, it’s just that a bur­geon­ing TV ca­reer got in the way. But no longer. Cof­fey ‘came out’ - po­lit­i­cally - back in 2014 when he first stood for Par­lia­ment as the Ro­torua Labour can­di­date. It was then that he pointed to a paint­ing of New Zealand’s Par­lia­ment build­ing.

It was newly placed on the wall his then HQ in Ro­torua’s CBD.

‘‘I’ve had that hang­ing on my wall by my bed for 10 years,’’ he said.

Now, at last, he’ll be en­ter­ing as newly minted Labour MP.

Cof­fey said he won’t take any­thing for granted in the fickle world of pol­i­tics, cit­ing an­other Labour MP, Carmel Sepu­loni, and her nine vote loss back in 2011. of a


Ta­mati Cof­fey.


Chloe Swar­brick.


Deb­o­rah Rus­sell.


Hamish Walker.

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