In the first of our summer series, Meet the Backbencher, we talk to Chloe Swarbrick.
Before you were an MP or an Auckland mayoral candidate, you managed a doughnut store – how does one go from managing a doughnut store to being an MP?
My transition into politics came from when I was working at bFM – the number one alternative radio station in Auckland, for those who don't know – and I was interviewing the top four candidates for the Auckland mayoralty, as dubbed by the mainstream media.
I was disillusioned, as I had been interviewing politicians in the previous few years, to all their solutions to the really critical problems that Auckland was facing.
I just felt that there was the need to do something different – I was fed up with continuing to interview them and doing this reactive thing and expecting people to care and for change to come about.
I was complaining to my producer, a good friend of mine, and she just said, "Chloe, if you're going to complain about it, you have to do something about it."
What are you up to this summer?
I'm going to do the Abel Tasman track.
Have you ever done it before?
No, I have not.
I've been trying to get through a lot of the great walks. I did the Tongariro [crossing] a few weeks ago during recess and I found that to be a really good way to clear the head after a few weeks in Parliament.
If you could take one Opposition MP out to dinner, who would it be?
I have quite a few colleagues I have worked quite well with in opposition – I would probably end up taking out Hamish Walker (National MP).
I have never actually hung out with him in any capacity, but on a weekly basis we do politics 101 – a segment on radio live and at times it can get pretty heated.
So I think that would be a good one to cool things down.
What should the NZ public be binge-watching on Netflix this summer?
Oh no! I don't have nearly enough time to watch things. What have I watched recently – oh deary me.
What's the best thing on Netflix … is this not depressing? For a millennial to not know what the good things are on Netflix?
I do think a good New Zealand show, that everyone should watch, is Get it to Te Papa by Hayden Donnell of the Spinoff and I'm in it, so …
What was your best speech this year, and why?
My best speech this year was on something that was deeply personally affecting me and I was really riled up when I wrote it.
It was a speech I gave a few weeks ago on drug law reform.
I just felt there was an urgency around ending the criminalisation of drug use and providing them with addiction support – because I can't quite understand how politicians think the same thinking that got us into this mess is going to get us out of it.
• 24 years old
• Green Party List MP
• Elected in 2017
• Former Auckland Mayoral candidate