Until Thursday of last week Stratford resident Hillary Kieft was the Advance NZ candidate for the Taranaki-King Country electorate. In a few short days, however, she had cut all ties with the party and started her own independent campaign in Whanganui.
Kieft said that things had been "a bit hectic" since her sudden departure from Advance NZ, with a day to organise her nomination and policies still to be solidified with her team.
"In five days I've made the switch to my own policies, but after I resigned I knew that I wanted to keep going in some way.
"Being independent means I can be a voice strictly for my electorate and I don't have to tow the party line."
A pro-life advocate and lobbyist, Kieft said she would "continue to fight" in that particular area, "especially as the law changed around the abortion bill just prior to lockdown".
The 2020 Abortion Legislation Bill dropped any legal test for having the procedure earlier than 20 weeks, leaving the decision up to the woman and her doctor. For an abortion to be considered after 20 weeks, the woman must be assessed by a qualified health professional.
"Another focus of my campaign will be the farming sector, because my husband and I have been dairy farmers in Stratford for over 20 years," she said.
"At the moment I think there's too much red tape and regulations around farming, and they seem to shift each year.
"Farming is our past and it's our future as far as I'm concerned, and I think what we need to do is actually bring those that work on the land to the table and make sure they are part of any decision making.
"That should apply to all sectors really, and I think people who have had life experience in those sectors should be a part of making policy."
Measures to protecting small businesses and temporary immigration restrictions would also feature in her policies, Kieft said.
"In terms of Covid-19, I don't think the government shut the border soon enough.
"As a country moving forward we really need to look at our nation, and looking after the people within our nation first.
"I'm probably going to come across as a bit harsh, but I think we need to shut down the refugee programme [New Zealand Refugee Quota Programme] for at least a couple of years so we can get our own country going again.
"Our country is an absolute mess, so how can we bring in people and look after them as well?
"It wouldn't be forever obviously, we just need to think about our own people at the moment."
Kieft, who will be the first independent candidate to stand in Whanganui since 1999, said that each election cycle merely saw a "band aid" put over the country's problems.
"We need to talk to the people on the ground, and that's what I intend to do.
"The good thing about the minor parties in this election is that a lot of them aren't politicians, they're farmers, they're teachers, they're everyday people. I think that's really exciting."
Kieft said she had a "gagging order" on her reasons for leaving Advance NZ.