Claire Trevett

Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

The backbenchers: Andrew Little, Labour Party

Andrew Little says he will campaign hard and try new techniques in New Plymouth. Photo / APN
Andrew Little says he will campaign hard and try new techniques in New Plymouth. Photo / APN

Meet the backbenchers - Andrew Little, 48, married with one son, Labour List MP, elected in 2011.

What's a personal goal for 2014?

I'm going to campaign very hard and try new techniques in New Plymouth, and I want to lead the debate about labour market change. And otherwise continue the very enjoyable and happy time I am having in this great institution.

What was a personal highlight of 2013?

Seeing the defeat of [National MP] Jami-Lee Ross' bill on strike-breaking labour. I'd talked to all the parties who might possibly oppose it and got them on board so that was very satisfying.

Have you bested Justice Minister Judith Collins in Parliament?

My approach has been to let her expose herself for what she is. Which is a conservative who doesn't want to change much and is more interested in her appearance than doing constructive things in her portfolios.

What do you mean by "appearance"?

She's all about presenting an image of being tough. And she's not ... I don't have to do much to attack her. You just ask a straight question and she gets all huffy and puffy and that's the mark of someone who's not up to their job.

Do you have a bill in the private member's ballot?

Yes, on corporate manslaughter. It was prompted by the Royal Commission report into Pike River. The case for it is getting stronger.

What MP from another party impressed you and why?

National MP Mike Sabin. He certainly baits us a lot in the House, but I think he does some good work and he is always ready for a scrap. Most National backbenchers are reluctant not to toe the party line. He shows a bit of independent thought which is an admirable quality.

If David Cunliffe wanted to shout you to dinner, where would you go and why?

I can't go to Andres in New Plymouth any more because it's shut down. That place up on Cuba St. I can't remember the name. Just put a charming little bistro on Cuba St. It's a down to earth, relaxed casual environment and a great place for interesting discussion.

What was your most memorable holiday job?

I had a job for about eight weeks maintaining the electrical cable trench to the Waitara Valley methanol plant. It was about 1km long, and my job was to start at one end of the trench at the beginning of the day and dig up all the cave-ins and keep it clear ready for the cables to be laid. That was memorable, more so because on the first day I didn't know how hard it was going to be and how thirst-making it was going to be. My pottle of water lasted until about 10am and I then had to go drink out of the then-highly contaminated Waitara River.

Any ill effects?

No, it had no effect at all. My cast-iron stomach managed to deal with it.

Did you have a special beach as a child?

Wai-Iti Beach, North Taranaki. That was where we did family picnics, the white cliffs were there. On one picnic my mum was sitting there and a nesting penguin slipped down on to her. Almost everyone on the beach gathered around and we nursed the penguin into the sea.

Is there somewhere overseas you'd really like to visit?

I'd like to spend more time in the Middle East. My father was passionate about it, he was posted there just after World War II. Big area, I know, but getting a sense of the place. Claire Trevett

- NZ Herald

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