Key Points:

David Garrett has already been called a "right-wing nut-job" before uttering his first word in Parliament.

The pugnacious Act MP disagrees with the blogosphere's description, preferring to call himself a "thinking conservative".

Mr Garrett certainly doesn't have a classic right-wing CV: he's a former member of the Socialist Unity Party, anti-Nuclear protester and Labour Party activist.

He wasn't even a member of Act before being approached to stand three months ago, which he said was an arrangement between Act leader Rodney Hide and Garth McVicar of the Sensible Sentencing Trust.

Mr Garrett, the trust's legal adviser and a well-known crime and punishment hardliner, was unveiled as Act's "mystery" candidate six weeks ago. He is behind its "three strikes, you're out" policy that would see a sentence of 25 years after a third violent offence.

Mr Garrett believes he can work with National, which also has plans to toughen sentencing.

He said he would quit Parliament at the next election if he did not achieve anything in law and order.

Mr Garrett, 50, was born and raised in Gisborne before spending a decade working as an oil industry labourer on rigs and pipelines around the world. He then started a second career as a lawyer, practising in Tonga, where he set up a firm that is still running.

A prolific writer of letters to the editor, Mr Garrett lives in Helensville with his partner and two children.

He believes in spending as little as possible on jails. He thinks they should be like the original Mt Eden, but "with built-in toilets rather than piss-pots".

"I don't see any reason first- or second-time robbers could not do their time in something like a POW camp in the Desert Rd. Why not?"