Prepare yourself New Zealand politics and history nerds. Marilyn Waring will be touching down in the Bay of Plenty as part of this year's Tauranga Arts Festival speaker lineup. At age 22, Waring was the youngest person to enter Parliament in 1975. She went on to be an activist, academic and author of international acclaim. Bay of Plenty Times reporter Jean Bell speaks with Waring ahead of her visit to the Bay.
Conscience and principles.
These are the two reasons Marilyn Waring joined the National Party over 30 years ago.
Waring is known to be a guns-blazing, empowered woman and her decision might seem strange to some, but she says it was no mistake.
The political science graduate is a self-confessed nerd. When eyeing up a move to become a politician, she read all the party's constitutions and rules.
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Waring said she saw red when it came to the Labour Party, with one rule stating members had to vote with the majority of the caucus.
"Well, really?" she asked incredulously.
"I had to be in a situation where I could try and keep my conscience and my principles," she said.
"I couldn't live with any other way of doing or being. I knew that, even at 22."
In her 2019 autobiography, The Political Years, Waring recounted the experience of being the youngest MP to enter Parliament in 1975 and being the only female National MP after the 1978 election.
The book also detailed Waring defying her party to cross the floor and support Labour's anti-nuclear stance.
Her move provoked the Prime Minister Robert Muldoon, who had a one-seat majority, to call the ill-fated 1984 snap election. She then went on to fight internationally for the economic empowerment of women.
This saw her work for the United Nations and pick up a number of awards, including NZ Institute of Economic Research Economist of the Year in 2014 and NZ Visionary Leader Award at the 2018 Deloitte Top 200 Awards.
Waring now lives on the quieter side of life, overseeing doctorate students as a Professor of Public Policy at Auckland University of Technology.
While speaking with the Bay of Plenty Times, Waring highlighted climate change as a pressing issue in the local body elections.
"Don't vote for anyone who is going to curb rate rises because there's a very large invoice in and it's called climate change," she said.
"It's already well overdue and it's expensive."
Waring will speak with MP Chlöe Swarbrick about The Political Years at this year's Tauranga Arts Festival.
The Political Years - Tauranga Arts Festival
November 2, 10 am
Carrus Crystal Palace
More information and tickets available on the Tauranga Arts Festival website