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