National MP-in-waiting Jian Yang knows some people will see him only as the token Chinese MP, the new Pansy Wong.

Adding to that perception is the timing of asking him to stand.

"They were looking for a candidate after Pansy Wong resigned, and people from the Chinese community recommended me," says Dr Wang, the highest-ranked new prospect on the National Party list.

"However, I should overcome that, and try to do more in terms of policy-making."


At number 36, Dr Yang is virtually assured of a seat in Parliament, barring a collapse in National's party vote in the next month.

He grew up in southern China, earned his master's and PhD in international relations from Canberra's Australian National University and is an expert on Chinese politics.

He has lived in Auckland since 1999 and is a senior political science lecturer at Auckland University, a life far removed from his youthful days labouring in the countryside of communist China during the cultural revolution.

The experience shaped his political beliefs, which he says are closely aligned to those of National - reward for hard work (low taxes on high incomes), economic responsibility, education-focused, and equal opportunity rather than equal outcomes.

"[During the revolution], no matter how hard you worked, you had a similar result because the Government gave you everything. Everyone was equal but everyone was poor," Dr Yang said.

China had since drifted to an extreme capitalism that increased the gap between rich and poor.

"New Zealand should be in the middle - social welfare and equality, but at the same time good productivity, and incentives to work hard."

But he still holds views sympathetic to traditional values in Chinese society, such as the death penalty.


He said the effective dictatorship in China had provided a stable platform for long-term economic policy, while a surge in international trade had improved human rights and the flow of information.

Chinese Labour MP Raymond Huo said Dr Yang would make a good MP.

"We get on well and I respect him, and he and I together will work closely to help bring the Chinese community towards the mainstream community in the nation-building process."

Asiaworks managing director Bo Li, who knows Dr Wang through the Chinese Association, was surprised at his move into politics, suggesting it was more about opportunity rather than any real ambition.

* Age: 49
* A father of two
* 36 on the list, the highest new candidate and virtually guaranteed a seat in Parliament
* Born in China, studied in Canberra, moved to New Zealand in 1999
* Auckland University senior lecturer in political studies, director of China Studies Centre, chairman of NZ Institute of International Affairs' Auckland branch
* Socially conservative: sympathetic towards a higher alcohol purchase age, death penalty, against gay marriage