I’m standing for the seat of Rongotai, because it’s where I live with my partner and 2 kids, and it’s the community I know and love. Whether it’s swimming in Island Bay, grabbing the weekly veges from the Newtown Market, or bike riding around Miramar Peninsula — I live and breathe this vibrant and diverse area of Wellington that we get to call home.
I’ve been a Green MP for 11 years. In that time, I’ve worked tirelessly to deliver policies that improve people’s lives and combat climate change. When I was Minister for Women, I made sure thousands of women got the pay rise they deserved through the Public Sector Gender Pay Gap Action Plan. And as Associate Minister of Transport, I pushed through the Clean Car policies that have led to a huge shift to low and zero emissions vehicles in the last year.
I grew up in Los Angeles, where I saw how transport and urban design impacted the environment and influenced the lives of people within the city, from their health to their ability to access employment and education. I also witnessed horrific inequality, combined with a long history of structural racism, which created my drive to change things for the better.
This drive led to activism from a very young age for peace, cannabis law reform, marriage equality, environmental protection and ending the excessive influence of large corporates on government policy.
Soon after arriving in Aotearoa New Zealand in 2006 as a post-grad scholar at the University of Auckland, I became an active volunteer with the Green Party. The Greens not only shared my vision for creating a fairer society that put people and the environment first, but also effectively campaigned for the evidence-based policies that will deliver on that vision.
Before entering politics, my professional career was in transport and urban planning. As a consultant for some of New Zealand’s leading firms, I advised local and central government organisations on policy and economic evaluation of transport projects.
I entered Parliament in 2011 (the same year I became a New Zealand citizen) and have been a spokesperson on a broad range of issues including climate change, transport, health, finance, housing and women. From 2017 to 2020, I was the Minister for Women, and Associate Minister of Health and of Transport.
I’m a BA graduate of UC Berkeley, earned a post graduate certificate in international political studies from Sciences-Po Paris in France, and a Masters in Planning Practice (1st class) from the University of Auckland.