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March 24, 2014 | by  | in Features |
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Holly Walker

Holly Walker is a Green list MP in the Hutt South electorate. She came to our disorganised (creative) Salient office. She dressed casually and maintained a confident passion throughout. When she was born, her mum was on the DPB, and since then, she has studied at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. Duncan and Cam talked to her about her life and politics as an environmentalist.

How do you get to work?

Usually I catch the bus. [No 81. Walker lives in Petone, and biked to the train station last Wednesday for the first time since having her baby.]


My stock lunch is a chicken and almond sandwich and an Indonesian rice salad from Wishbone.

Do you have a vege garden?

I have a herb garden. My house is actually called Herb Cottage. The previous owner who lived there for over 20 years was a herbalist and a massage therapist. She has an amazing herb garden with about 45 different herbs in it. [Walker’s mum tends to the garden for her.]

 Do you use organic food?

Yup not 100% exclusively but yes we do. And generally that’s because it tastes better.

Favourite café?

Go Bang in Petone: does a great scrambled eggs with feta and oregano.

Have you ever smoked pot?

Yeah, of course.

What do you personally do to reduce your carbon footprint?

Public transport, obviously. Before I was pregnant[Walker has a five-month-old] I used to always bike into town. So my goal is to get back to doing that but, you know, small steps. And with the baby obviously there is heaps of potential waste, so we are doing all cloth nappies, and when she starts on solids we won’t be buying pre-packaged baby foods. She’ll just eat whatever we’re eating. Lots of people can fall into the trap of driving their babies around to get them to fall to sleep because they only sleep when they are in constant motion. So we go for walks instead which is good exercise for us as well. So around having a baby there are a whole lot of decisions we have made to be as environmental as possible.

If you could be Queen for one day and could pass one law to improve the environment, what would it be?

It depends if you are thinking about the global picture or the picture here in New Zealand. Because I think we need to address the elephant in the room, climate change. And, you know, NZ needs to be a leader, so we need a better system than the ETS that we have at present. We need to show that we can take global leadership on that. But if I am allowed to say something else as well, then it would be setting limits for pollution in rivers, and setting limits for what water we can take out of rivers for irrigation purposes. I know that the Government is moving in that direction, but the limits they are setting are so laughably weak that they will actually allow us to pollute the rivers more before we have the limit that they are setting. And clearly we need to clean them up, and so we need to get a lower limit and work towards getting to that. So that would be the other one.

One event that helped prepare you for political life?

[When editor of Critic, the Otago Uni student paper,] we published a fictional diary of a drug rapist. It was pretty out-there and offensive. We kind of argued at the time that it was for the purposes of education and, you know, making people more aware of watching their drinks, but it would have been, if you were a victim of rape, incredibly traumatising. It was deemed to be objectionable. It is illegal to have a copy. For me, it was a really good learning experience. I mean, I defended the decision at the time, but I have subsequently come to the conclusion that it was the wrong decision. But it meant that I had to defend it in the national media. And it was really good practice for me for being a politician, both having to defend a decision you’ve made, and then actually on reflection being able to say that it was the wrong decision. Those are both important things that politicians need to be able to do.


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Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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