Holly with her daughter Esther Lucy Haines at a PPL event.
Age: 31 Ethnicity/Nationality: Pākehā Highest Education: MPhil in Development Studies (University of Oxford)
Holly Walker is a list candidate for the Greens. Holly’s official Greens profile page is available here. On her page, you will see that she has only recently become a new mother and during 2014 she considers she ‘will be combining the equally important roles of parenting and Parliament’.
While Holly is the Greens spokesperson for Children, Housing, Students, Open Government, Electoral Reform, Arts Culture and Heritage, she also has particular interests in women’s issues, parenting, education, inequality and social justice.
Holly’s motivation for entering politics was recognising the opportunities afforded to her through state assistance. She explains:
“for the first few years of my life my mum was on her own with me. We benefited from state welfare, housing, and education support, and I want to defend those supports and strengthen them for children growing up in New Zealand today so that every child can enjoy the opportunities I did.”
Holly grew up in a household that encouraged political debate and participation. She developed her political values at high school, and later at university. She describes her politics as ‘progressive with a strong commitment to green principles of appropriate decision-making, social justice, ecological wisdom, non-violence, and a commitment to upholding the Treaty of Waitangi’ and also identifies as a feminist.
Although her parents were ‘strong Labour supporters’, Holly gravitated towards the Greens as she considered them the ‘only party that recognised the links between the economy, the environment and social justice and builds those links into everything they do’. She was also attracted to the Greens because she felt she would never have to ‘modify or compromise’ on her principles and values with them.
On women’s reproductive rights
Holly is pro-choice and believes that ‘it is time for our abortion law to be updated and for it to be removed from the Crimes Act and treated as a health issue’.
On women’s economic contributions (other than paid work)
Holly considers that women contribute to the economy through unpaid work in many ways including (but not limited to):
“leading community organisations, governing schools and playcentres, volunteering for NGOs and charities, breastfeeding their babies, caring for children, sick and elderly relatives, supporting their partners in paid work, starting up their own businesses, upskilling themselves through training and study, creating art and music.”
On wage disparity
Holly is hugely concerned with wage disparity in New Zealand and considers it ‘one of the biggest challenges of our time’. She maintains that ‘there is clear evidence that growing inequality harms us all, not only those at the bottom, and New Zealand is one of the most unequal countries in the developed world’.
On support services for women
Holly believes that we could do more to support women in vulnerable situations, such as, first time or solo mothers, victims of crime, addiction services, mental health services (to mention a few). She states that:
“we need to recognise that investment in early intervention – whether it be support for new parents, early childhood education, public health campaigns, or preventive mental health services – saves millions of dollars down the track in reduced need for remedial health, education and justice services. This is particularly true for women who are often more vulnerable to begin with.”
Holly further explains that:
“As a new mum myself, and the daughter of a sole parent, I have nothing but admiration for mothers who raise children without the support of a full-time partner. I am passionate about making sure that every child in New Zealand gets the best possible start in life – from improved maternity care and support for breastfeeding, to a universal child payment, more paid parental leave, free healthcare for all children, and subsidised ECE and after-school care. Policies like this would make a huge difference to first time and sole parents.”
General Q & A:
What is the one skill you wish you had (that you don’t already)?
“Fluency in Te Reo Māori. I’m working on it”
In everyday life, what is your pet peeve?
“A messy kitchen”
What do think is the biggest problem facing the world right now?
What is the best gift you’ve ever given?
“I was recently able to donate a large amount of frozen breastmilk for a friend struggling to get her supply established and wanting to avoid giving her newborn formula. That felt pretty good”
What is the best gift you’ve ever received?
“For one birthday, my partner Dave made a treasure hunt of new books hidden around the house for me. To find each one I had to solve a cryptic crossword clue. It took me days to find them all”
Describe a time when you wanted to quit, but you didn’t:
“Crossing the finish line of my first half marathon with a nose bleed and at the end of a gruelling three week Outward Bound course in 2004”
If you could have a special power/magic what would it be and why?
“To be in two places at once: in Parliament working for good green change, and at home with my baby!”
You can see more of Holly on:
Facebook: Holly Walker
Please check the About page if you are interested in the question selections.