How were you politicised?
From a really young age I was interested in a range of issues. When I was 11, the US went to war with Iraq over Kuwait, and I think my first political action was drawing a sign which said "No Blood For Oil" and putting it up in our front window [in southern California], which I got in trouble for. I got really interested in protecting the environment because I read a book (Fifty Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Planet) about the threats the planet was facing. And I was also really interested in inequality. I was that kid in high school ... who was really interested in political issues, had a strong opinion, debating with people about things.
Do you have a political hero?
[Former Green Party co-leader] Jeanette Fitzsimons was someone who I really admired when I first came to NZ. I was really impressed with the work she was doing. She was one of the first politicians I heard articulating my values intelligently and with grace. Also, the women who were involved in the suffrage moment way back in the day in the US.
What was your most memorable summer holiday as a child?
When I was 20, my whole family went to Ireland on a cycling tour where we cycled around the Ring of Kerry and that was pretty fantastic. My mum's half-Irish so it was our first and only family trip back to Ireland. We didn't take a lot of holidays when I was a kid because my dad was a workaholic, a physician [cardiologist]. Going on this cycle tour where we cycled 50km a day really opened my eyes to how fantastic cycling was as a way to get around and to see places. And obviously I'm pretty famous for cycling around now.
You've been in Parliament three years now. What's the best advice you could give to a new MP?
Make a plan for getting regular sleep. Try to organise your travel so you aren't flying every other day or several times in one day. And take the airport bus when you're in Auckland - it's great.
What would be your dream portfolio if you were ever in Cabinet?
Transport and housing. In some countries transport, housing and urban development are combined as a government agency. They're quite related. Because we have so many opportunities in New Zealand to do things better and within the existing budget, we could actually really massively improve New Zealanders' commutes but also the quality of life in the towns and cities and that's good for the economy, it's good for the environment, it's good for people, it's just win-win. It's easy.
Have you got a bill in the private member's ballot or are you planning one?
Yes. I have one ready to go in the ballot. It's picking up some of the recommendations from the cycle safety panel including minimum mandatory passing distance of 1.5m for all vulnerable road users, so that's people on bikes, motorbikes, horses. At the moment I've got a climate change bill in there which sets a carbon budget and targets.
If you could be fluent in another language, what would it be?
I am fluent in French, but I wish I'd chosen Mandarin or Spanish. They're the two most common languages beside English. I'm impressed by people who learn Mandarin or Japanese or those languages that have no relationship to English.
What book would you like to read this summer and what is some music you'd like to listen to?
I have a plan to read [Eleanor Catton's] The Luminaries. I am planning hopefully to go to Laneway Festival and Womad this year. Never been to either. I'm still listening to Lorde's album Pure Heroine quite a lot, which is unusual because I don't usually listen to pop music. Also Beirut and The National and I listen to a lot of jazz too.
Do you have a goal for 2015?
I really want to learn to play tennis. I've just picked up the environment portfolio so I'm hoping to somehow stop the Government from completely gutting the Resource Management Act and environmental protection and to raise awareness about how important that is to protect the places we love.
Julie Anne Genter
• Aged 35
• Green Party list MP
• Elected 2011