Teanau Tuiono is the Green Party's first MP from Palmerston North, meaning the city has two representatives in Parliament including Labour's Tangi Utikere who is the electorate MP.
The first half year of parliamentary life has been a rollercoaster for Tuiono.
"Because there's only 10 of us [Green MPs] we have to spread all of the portfolios around," he said.
"So we've got about 10 each. I've got things like regional development, education, Pacific people, agriculture, security and surveillance, internal affairs, biosecurity ... so I'm across a whole lot of different things. It's a really exciting place to be."
Tuiono has always been an activist. Now, as a Member of Parliament, he has the perfect platform to continue advocating for people and planet.
"We are in a climate emergency. The beginning of last year we started with the Australian bushfires. We thought 'wow, how bad does it get?'
"It got worse with the Covid crisis and just remember that the way that this virus started was because people had disrupted wildlife in their environment as well and it jumps from wildlife to humans. And so it is by disrupting the environment and not recognising our connection to the environment that we have found ourself in this situation."
As the Greens' agriculture spokesperson, Tuiono will advocate for regenerative agriculture and a move away from intensive dairy farming.
"I think we're in a really unique situation here in Aotearoa New Zealand. We have a really strong green image and we need to leverage on that. Most other countries are completely shut down, so if all of a sudden they find out that we are exporting products that are next to rivers that are not healthy, that is bad for our image. That's bad for everything that we are exporting offshore."
While the parliamentary process takes a bit of getting used to, the main difficulty has been talking in the third person while in the house, and speaking through the speaker to address other MPs.
But there is at least one thing that Tuiono thinks could change.
"I did find it annoying actually that we had to pledge allegiance to the Queen. I wanted the option of being able to pledge my allegiance to Te Tiriti O Waitangi, because we live in Aotearoa New Zealand, it's the founding document.
"And to be honest, I don't think the queen would mind."
Tuiono is currently drafting a private member's bill ensuring pension portability for Pasifika people.
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