Labour MP Jacinda Ardern talks to SHARON LUNDY of NZPA about the path to becoming Parliament’s youngest current MP.
Wellington, July 8 NZPA – Labour’s youngest MP, Jacinda Ardern, is pretty glamorous, but her six months in New York were anything but a scene from Sex in the City.
Think instead of soup kitchens and dossing on a friend’s couch — what the 28-year-old describes as the “grittier” side of New York.
Ms Ardern headed off on her OE after the 2005 election, having been part of then prime minister Helen Clark’s advisory team.
Flights were cheap, she had a friend in New York who was a fellow member of the International Union of Social Youth, so the Big Apple it was.
That’s Socialist Youth.
Many 24-year-old women living in New York probably aspire to a few Sex in the City moments; buying a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes or or sipping cocktails in the hippest bars.
Instead, Ms Ardern was making meatballs for 150 homeless people and joining them for lunch.
“I probably didn’t experience that kind of glamorous side of New York,” she concedes. “I saw the grittier side, I guess.”
She initially volunteered for the Service Employees International Union, one of the biggest unions in the United States, working on campaigns such as Justice for Janitors.
Then it was on to a soup kitchen in Brooklyn; working there was the highlight of her time in New York, she says.
While disagreeing with her politics, I respect anyone who puts their principles into action and volunteers to help other people.