Desire to challenge boring politicians

Chloe Swarbrick at Howick Intermediate. Times photo Farida Master

Dead bored of interviewing politicians mouthing the same lines is the only reason former journalist Chlöe Swarbrick got into politics.

Recently invited to Howick Intermediate to talk to students on how every voice counts, the former radio journalist turned Green Party candidate for Maungakiekie/One Tree Hill, told them that if they wanted to make a difference they had to stand up and be counted.

“Every Mayoral candidate I asked about their hopes and dreams for Tamaki Makaurau said the same things.

“I got the impression that none of them were really interested in solving the problems that we face.”

Only a third of Auckland votes, she says.

“I don’t think that represents democracy.”

“I was so frustrated and complained about it to my producers and they said they why don’t you do something about it,” says the former Auckland Mayoral candidate.

“So I googled the requirements of candidates standing for office and found that I had to pay $200 and get two people to endorse me.”

The 23-year-old says she is keen to explode the myth of stereotypes.

“When you think of politicians, you think of old dudes… not me.

“They are 50-year-old men in suits who have the money and power. And they would like it to stay that way.

“But I had no money when I started out at the age of 22.

“In fact I had a huge debt after I had graduated from university in law and arts.
“I wondered how I’d ever be able to afford a home,” she says.

The young entrepreneur took on the challenge of enrolling as a candidate for the 2017 General Elections which follows her much-publicised Mayoral run.

Chlöe’s entry in the political arena was instantly hailed as the arrival of the youngest candidate, and that’s where the story ended.

“No one took me seriously as age became my defining feature.

“However I was pleasantly surprised that I got 30,000 votes and had lot of people asking me what happens next?

“The reason I am with the Green Party is because I strongly believe that New Zealand values are green values,” she says to the school students.

“While I have been asked by the school not to speak about Green Party policies as there will be other party candidates talking to you, I can tell you that we were the only party that didn’t congratulate Mr Donald Trump when he took over as President.

“We don’t believe in racism and sexism.”