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Candidate profile: Jacinda Ardern

Wednesday 19 Oct 2011 2:43 p.m.

Jacinda Ardern is described by 3 News political reporter Patrick Gower as Labour's future.

Jacinda Ardern is described by 3 News political reporter Patrick Gower as Labour's future.

Politics has been Jacinda’s life for the most part of the last decade and, despite having only one parliamentary term under her belt, she is quickly scaling Labour’s ladder.

Background:

Jacinda Ardern was born in Hamilton in 1980, went to primary and secondary school in Morrinsville and then headed to Waikato University in 1999 where she earned her Bachelor in Communication Studies.

She also spent a few years of her childhood in the Bay of Plenty town of Murupara, where her dad was stationed as a police officer.

Like many New Zealanders, she headed overseas in her 20s, for a taste of freedom and to widen her work experience - including spending time in London working for three years as a senior policy advisor.

She has been heavily involved in campaigning for grassroots Labour, serving as vice president of Young Labour in 2003-2004, before being elected president of the International Union of Socialist Youth in early 2008.

As president of the International Union, Jacinda spent time in Mumbai, Lebanon, the West Bank, and Algeria, before deciding to focus on making a difference back home in New Zealand.

Career in politics:

On her 2008 return Jacinda was virtually guaranteed entry parliament, after being placed 20 on the Labour party’s list.

As the youngest member of the House, she has spent the past term representing the Employment and Youth Affairs portfolios.

This year she plans to stand against Nikki Kaye for the Auckland Central electorate, a battle that has been touted the ‘sexiest politician’ competition.

Notable actions:

Jacinda proposed a private member’s bill to allow same-sex couples to adopt, which has now become formal Labour party policy.

In her maiden speech to parliament Jacinda advocated compulsory Te Reo for school children, and chastised the New Zealand government for a “shameful” record on climate change.

What you might not know:

Jacinda was in America for the events of 9/11 – she was in the midst of studying at Arizona State University, and says the events on that day caused everything around her to change.

Heroes and idols:

Jacinda has cited her nana and Helen Clark as her political role models. Jacinda says Ms Clark’s work made her proud to be part of the Labour party, while her nana Gladys was the “true political beast” of the family and a staunch Labour advocate.

Quote:

“I have been asked if I am a radical. All I can say to that is ‘I am from Morrinsville’. Where I come from a radical is someone who chooses to drive a Toyota over a Ford or a Holden.”

In a sentence:

Jacinda has all the elements to make it big and been described by 3 News political reporter Patrick Gower as Labour’s future.

3 News

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