Chloe Swarbrick, 23, the newbie MP and the youngest to warm a parliamentary seat for 42 years, is the lawyer who didn’t want to be a lawyer but has nevertheless engaged in multiple careers by her current, young age.
The Green Party MP who was almost certainly elected this weekend, barring any upset with special votes, has degrees in law and a BA, but is best known (apart from her most recent career change) as an entrepreneur who started the label The Lucid Collective with partner Alex Catt.
She subsequently moved into a consultancy business, artists agency and other initiatives.
However, never one to be reduced in terms of adding strings to her bow, Ms Swarbrick has also worked on student radio 95bFM, working as a news writer and reader. She later hosted The Wire and became a regular host last year.
She also ran third behind Phil Goff and Victoria Crone in a tilt at the Auckland mayoralty.
Described in one article as an over achiever, she told writer Katie Parker that she had entered the Auckland mayoralty to help lift the “dismal” voter turnout and to simply do something about the problems that exist.
I’ve been sitting in meetings with people who are twice or triple my age and convincing them to work with me and then – this sounds so pretentious, but – blowing them away. Because the thing that’s really interesting about being younger is I have to be better than everybody else to be taken seriously.
And that’s the really intriguing thing about my policy as well. It’s the most detailed. It is the most thoroughly researched and anybody who wants to ask me any question about how it’s practically going to work, I’m able to answer that question. Because the back end of it is hundreds of footnotes that I have personally researched myself, hours and hours and hours, and then I’ve talked to researchers and academics.
Despite her legal qualification, Chloe Swarbrick told The Pundit that she never intended practising law, but rather wanted to understand the system she was “critiquing”.
Her various enterprises, political campaigns, journalism roles and other activities, including being nominated as a New Zealander of the Year Local Hero Award for her work with the local community, she remains an articulate, feisty activist who revels in working with people three times her age.
Just how Parliament and its fusty processes an procedures will alter her perception of what she can do remains to be seen. But at least the law degree helps place the same processes and procedures in a context she understands.