Labour’s Rachel Boyack and ACT’s Brooke van Velden outlined their priorities as new MPs this morning, including their different stances on how to tackle poverty in New Zealand.
Today, five days after the general election, the pair appeared on TVNZ1’s Breakfast.
ACT deputy leader van Velden said she used to be a Green Party supporter, until she studied economics and international trade at Auckland University. She then switched her vote to ACT.
“I’ve always cared about the environment and about poverty,” she said.
“But it was only when I was studying economics at university that I came to this realisation that it was only through the free market that billions of people around the world have been pulled from poverty.
“You can only care about environmental degradation if you have the time, money and skills to actually do that.”
Van Velden said she will focus on improving housing and mental health as an MP.
She also promised to both hold the Government to account, but also provide it with constructive ideas.
Boyack, who comes from a trade union background, said she agreed with van Velden that poverty is an issue in New Zealand.
“I have a big focus on lifting people out of poverty through higher wages.”
Boyack, who won Nelson from incumbent National’s Nick Smith, said she would be “relentless” in her focus on improving people’s access to housing in her community.
She also acknowledged Smith’s “important role” in the community. Smith was the electorate’s MP since 1996.