Panda clad MP puts her paws out for good cause

By Morgan Tait

Jacinda Ardern slept rough in her panda onesie for the Lifewise Big Sleepout last night. Photo / Greg Bowker
Jacinda Ardern slept rough in her panda onesie for the Lifewise Big Sleepout last night. Photo / Greg Bowker

She would have been booted out of Parliament for her attire, but Jacinda Ardern fitted right in with her panda onesie last night.

The Labour MP was one of 80 high profile Aucklanders who slept rough to show their solidarity for a solution to homelessness in the city.

Participants of the fourth annual Lifewise Big Sleepout at Auckland University of Technology included BNZ chief executive Andrew Thorburn, Shortland Street's Tyler Read, Barfoot and Thompson's Kiri Barfoot and mayoral candidate John Palino.

Ms Ardern donned the one-piece pyjama suit for the cause that she has been part of since its inception four years ago.

"I worked in a soup kitchen in New York and learning the stories of people there you see that homelessness is not a simple issue and the paths that people end up on that lead them to homelessness are incredibly sad.

"Ever since then I have been committed to seeing New Zealand become a place where we completely eradicate homelessness."

Ms Ardern said her onesie had helped promote the cause and gained $2000 in sponsorship.

Each participant was sponsored by online donations to meet Lifewise's $175,000 target and raise awareness for their goal of eliminating homelessness, said general manager John McCarthy. "We have got this group of people ... all these leaders from Parliament, business and academia, so we thought let's ask them 'what are their ideas that they might have, how might they approach a solution?'."

The ideas will be shared at a meeting with Auckland City Council next month.

•Donations are open until the end of July at bigsleepout.org.nz.

- NZ Herald

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