Audrey Young

Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

The backbenchers: Jami-Lee Ross, National MP for Botany

Jami-Lee Ross, 28, National MP for Botany, elected 2011:
Party whip has eye on re-election and young son learning to talk

Jami-Lee Ross likes to listen to Lorde as he runs in the morning. Photo / NZPA
Jami-Lee Ross likes to listen to Lorde as he runs in the morning. Photo / NZPA

Do you have a personal goal for 2014? To re-win my seat of Botany and to see National win the election at the end of the year.

That couldn't be more boring. I'd like to do well serving my constituents and I was very thankful and proud of the fact that the Prime Minister asked me to be one of the Government whips at the start of (last) year. When you are a backbencher, progression is always important so I would like to continue to do well on my job as an MP and hope the forward progression continues.

Do you have any personal goals? We've got an 18-month-old son, Henry, and this year was pretty cool. We got to see him celebrate his first birthday and learn to walk. He's starting to talk. So if I had one goal for 2014 it would probably be to just try to carve out a little bit more time in my diary to spend with Henry.

What was a personal highlight of this past year? Henry.

He's healthy and happy and just a bundle of joy and we're thoroughly enjoying being parents, and that whip's job I mentioned. Another highlight was the US ambassador selected me to attend a two-week seminar at the East-West Centre in Honolulu. It was about social and economic transformation in the Asia-Pacific region.

What select committee business did you enjoy this year? I've moved from the law and order committee to the finance committee. With my background in local government, I didn't have a large role in financial matters so I guess being on the finance committee has given me a greater understanding of financial matters of the Government. But also just listening to people on a regular basis such as the Governor of the Reserve Bank, it really highlights the need for us to be quite tough on economic matters and ensure we keep our belts tightened.

Do you have a bill in the private members' ballot? No, but I recently had a bill that would have allowed businesses to continue operating during a long, drawn out strike (by lifting the ban on replacing striking workers) which can be crippling for some businesses. The Parliament was deadlocked 60-60 on its first reading so it did not progress.

What MP from another party impressed you last year? I have quite a good relationship with Jacinda Ardern and that comes about through both of us being on TVNZ's Breakfast for some time. I have some personal respect for Jacinda and I think it is important to recognise there are talented people on both sides of the fence.

If John Key wanted to shout you to dinner for being a diligent MP, where would you go? There's a very nice restaurant in my electorate called Fisher House. It is a former home of Sir Woolf Fisher. It has a very nice, yet affordable menu and I often like to take people there and show them off a nice corner of my electorate.

What was your most memorable holiday job as a young person? I was attending university while I was a member of the Manukau City Council. I am in my 10th year as an elected representative. I started on the Manukau City Council in 2004. I was elected when I was 18. Most of the studying I have done has been when I was in local government. Councillors' roles aren't nearly as demanding as MPs' so I was able to study on the side. I didn't work the normal way a university student would work. I was an elected member of the council and it was a paid role. That was my job. University was very much part-time. I've also got a commercial pilot's licence which I finished off since I was elected.

What's the biggest plane you've flown? Cessnas.

Did you have a special beach as a child? We used to go to Mission Bay quite a bit as a child. I grew up in Auckland and we weren't very well off so we didn't do much travelling.

Can you recommend a film, book or album you've enjoyed in the past year? I like to go for runs in the morning when I can and Lorde is definitely on my playlist.

- NZ Herald

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