How were you politicised?
My mother's involvement with Social Credit. She was in Garry Knapp's campaign team in the Torbay electorate. I know that my father was really irritated by the fact that tea wasn't on the table because mum was out campaigning so it made an impression on lots of levels.
Do you have a political hero, living or dead?
It would be my mum (Anne Martin, NZ First's current party president). Both with Social Credit and NZ First it wasn't seen as the norm, you were slightly off the track from everybody else and when you are slightly off the mainstream you get a bit of ridicule, you get a bit of flak.
She was also a primary school teacher at a time when women's responsibilities were seen to be to your children and do the housework. My dad never lifted up a vacuum cleaner or anything like that. She stood as a candidate for [Social Credit and NZ First] but was never voted in, was never highly placed on the list. So she stood as a candidate for a party that she believed in, even though that party never really believed in her as such. But she believed in it and it wasn't about her ego or personal position, it was about what this party stood for so that's why to me she's that political hero. What was your most memorable summer holiday as a child?Down at Waimarama [in southern Hawkes Bay] on the marae with my grandmother and grandfather. It wasn't the swimming, it was the crayfish. Why I remember it was there was so much crayfish I was sick from crayfish.
You've been in Parliament three years now. What's the best advice you could give to a new MP?
Work hard, remember you're a representative at all times. Don't believe you're better than others, but you must always act like a representative.
What would be your dream portfolio if you were ever in Cabinet?
Education. I want to get in and stop the direction we're taking right now. For me it's the privatisation of education. It's the devaluing of trained teachers so that we've got this new underbelly called educators. It's the move to charter schools, all that, instead of recognising the issues in state schools and properly addressing them.
What is something readers would be surprised to know about you?
I was once a debt collector. The fancy name is credit controller but actually it's a debt collector.
Have you got a bill in the private members' ballot or are you planning one?
I've got a bill that gives children who are being raised by grandparents or kin carers' parity, or equity with foster children being raised by strangers with regard to the clothing allowance. It is worthy and it looks like it's got majority support at first reading and unanimous support out of select committee.
• Aged 49
• Elected 2011
• On the education and science committee, NZ First's education, women's affairs and broadcasting spokeswoman
• Married to Ben, three children