Snowboarder, ballroom dancing champ and Crowd Goes Wild reporter Hayley Holt is making a foray into politics, as co-host of the Back Benches chat show. Unlike former boyfriend All Black legend Richie McCaw, Holt isn't ruling out standing for Parliament in future - but for now she is honoured simply to work with long-time host Wallace Chapman on Prime.

Holt gave up booze three years ago and says her clean-living life has never been better.

Filling in last year for former co-host Damian Christie whetted her appetite and gave her the chance to work with Chapman, whom she describes as the nicest guy ever, who is smart without being arrogant.

"I guess the crew enjoyed having me on board and when the role opened up they gave me a call! Thankfully, Ric Salizzo, my boss at The Crowd Goes Wild, was super-supportive and told me to go for it. I now have the best of both worlds, sport and politics. My granddad would be so proud of me," she said.


Holt's grandfather, Warwick Holt, ran against Les Hunter for the Social Credit candidacy in the Bay of Islands' electorate back in the day, which she only found out while researching a university assignment this year.

The 34-year-old's earliest political memory was 1999. "Mum and Dad hosted some of our neighbours for a night with Rodney Hide at our house in Epsom. I have no idea why, I don't think they were Act supporters, but Dad loved to get involved and would have relished the chance to talk politics all night.

"I remember asking Hide at the time why I was able to get a student loan and use it to spend a season snowboarding in America. The question silenced him for a second." she said.

Holt thinks Winston Peters is the McCaw of politics. "He's in everybody's business, he knows how to frustrate his opponents, he'd be the most recognisable politician in New Zealand and he has been around for years." she said.

Her all-time favourite politician is Helen Clark - "one of the most intelligent and competent leaders we have ever had" - and three current women MPs across the political spectrum also get a big tick.

"Jacinda Ardern is a very exciting Labour MP. She has been called the rising star of politics and she deserves it. I am really drawn to the newest Green MP, Marama Davidson. She seems really authentic and is in politics because of her values rather than her ego.

"I also admire Nikki Kaye's commitment to environmental issues. It's great to see the House get an injection of such young, fresh and committed women. Politics is cool, kids."