The last few weeks have been tough for Julie Zhu.
The Green Party candidate for Botany says she took a day to grieve and is now continuing her fight so that former Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei’s resignation is not wasted.
With a background in arts, theatre, film and photography she is of the opinion that young people must be involved in politics.
The 24-year-old is passionate about standing up for what is right.
“East Auckland has such a diverse population and I think leadership should be well represented so that people have an equal go.”
She says that being young and Asian, it is important for her to open up the gates for other young women of colour to feel confident enough to be heard and step into public life.
“I never had an ambition to be involved in politics and always thought it to be distant and boring,” says the young actress, director and producer of theatre and films.
She first contested for the Local Board elections, Botany subdivision in 2016.
Julie is quick to point out that she has always been passionate about social change.
“I feel strongly about promoting social justice,” she says.
Born in Xi’an, China, she arrived in NZ at the age of four, living almost exclusively in east Auckland.
She attributes being a part of the Green Party as plain common sense.
“I am standing for a party that believes in protecting the environment, social justice, reducing inequality and understanding people who are not necessarily like you,” she says, about wanting to change the fabric of society.
“Climate change has been the biggest existential crisis of our generation and from going carbon neutral in 1950 our carbon emission has gone higher by 19 per cent – which is a key determinant of how a government is doing.
“Contamination of water up North is not a situation we should be facing in New Zealand. We need to attack the problem now if we don’t want to boil our water.”
The former Pakuranga College student says she is not one of those “loony hippies” that people think the Green Party to be.
Currently juggling a 20-hour freelance assignment as outreach manager at the Red Leap theatre and a 10-hour job as programme assistant at the Basement Theatre in the city, she has her hands full with a movie fundraiser An Inconvenient sequel : Truth to Power for the Green Party at the Monterey Cinemas on Thursday August 24.
She is also busy producing a live documentary theatre show titled OTHER [Chinese] at the Q Theatre on Thursday, September 7-16.
It’s too close to the General Election date and she moans saying, she doesn’t have the luxury like some other young candidate of being a full-time politician.
And while she looks at the back-benchers in Parliament and marvels at “the way they can dodge the question so well”, she says she is “looking forward to helping support the Labour Party and also hold them to account”.