On Chloe Swarbrick’s maiden speech

The youngest MP in Parliament is Green Chloe Swarbrick.It is very early days in her political career, she has a lot to learn and perhaps a lot to achieve.

Here is her maiden speech in Parliament.

Transcript: http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1711/S00099/chloe-swarbrick-maiden-speech.htm

Some responses to this from Reddit, which includes references to Golriz Ghahraman.


The message I took was more like “I want to change politicians’ awareness of people” – or something along that vein. Have I misread?

I found the speech meandered quite a bit. Too many unconnected anecdotes. I have kids in intermediate school so I’m familiar with this style of writing being the designated proofreader 🙂

It will be interesting to see how she will influence parliament, and vice-versa.

The Zizekiest:

To be fair the speech itself was a little bit too over the place to have a clear, coherent, single message.

I think the take away is this:

  1. Politicians are too distanced from the reality of issues they deal with
  2. This needs to change
  3. The way to change this is for ordinary people to get more involved in politics
  4. To get more people involved in politics we need to change their perception of what politics is

So, in a way, the speech was saying “we need to change people’s awareness of what politics is, so that we can change politicians’ awareness of people.”

IDK, all I can say is I hope the Green party don’t pay for speech writers.


cool if you could point out the examples of progressive policy change where New Zealand has led or followed fast (universal suffrage, recognition of indigenous rights, legalisation of homosexuality, marriage equality being good examples) have progressed without some level of discomfort particularly from the swathes of people who turn out to oppose them I’ll be waiting, but I suspect I’ll be waiting for a while


What is awful is her statement that “we’ve been ahead of the policy curve – leading where all others eventually follow”.

Even apart from the sadly typical “holier than thou” Green attitude it’s just wrong. I don’t see everyone following their policy to outlaw and not even consider GM foods. I don’t see everyone following their policy to not regulate alternative medicine. I don’t see everyone following their policy to impose tourism levies. I don’t see everyone following their policies to impose capital gains tax.


Watched her entire speech, it was incredibly moving and she is such an eloquent person. So glad that she is in parliament.


I must be one of the few people that isn’t really a fan of Chloe or Golriz. Both seem to be stereotypical social justice warriors that are out of touch with reality. Rather than focus on real problems in NZ Golriz seems obsessed with Manus Island – there are hundreds of millions of people around the world in much worse situations than them.

Also does she ever open her mouth without playing up the refugee angle. Apparently her parents were middle class Iranians – certainly not persecuted dissidents or refugees struggling to survive. When they fled to NZ the war with Iraq had already been over for several years.

Chloe used to make more sense with her focus on actual issues – now she is all over the place complaining about white male privilege etc. If white male privilege exists I’m still waiting to benefit from it. Next time I’m living out of my car I hope white male privilege helps me get a good night’s sleep.

Seriously why are there so many wackos on the left and right. I’d settle for some politicians that focused on real problems in NZ with some decent evidence based policies. (Sadly it seems like Gareth Morgan is not going to be that person).


She’s not saying that all men are better off than all woman. It’s a topic of averages, and the simple fact is that on average women face more discrimination for their gender than men. The wage-gap, sexual assault – even look at our female leaders. How many times is Jacinda Ardern called a horse? Paula Bennett, a pig? Helen Clark a number of things all pertaining to a looks, which men rarely suffer from.


You got any links/source on the white male privliege thing? I’m curious because I haven’t seen those arguments been made.

I’ve found her complaining seen middle/old white men being over represented in parliament, which I don’t think anyone would disagree with somewhat

although myself I think part of that issue is because of the ‘age’ and the ‘male’ demographic, since younger people and females are under represented. With other ethnicities besides Maori having only grown significantly in the last 20 or 30 years and being made up alot by recent immigrants, you can’t expect them to all have representation as fast as they immigratel. it also has the issue if these ethnicities are only located in very few city electorates, and not widespread around the country it’s hard to sell to the public for voting, that they represent NZ.


Last year Chloe Swarbrick was running for mayor in Auckland. She had a number of sound policies (that she developed in collaboration with various experts and ordinary Aucklanders), including a reform of the rating system and several other proposals that were capable of attracting people from across the wider political spectrum. She focused on uniting, rather than dividing people.

It is a bit disappointing to see that over the last year she has become much more of a partisan social justice warrior and a walking megaphone shouting empty or polarising slogans than someone interested in building bridges, stimulating calm debates and proposing reason-based solutions.

She used to propose real reforms. Today she runs much more murky crusades, fights (via empty slogans) against “white privilege”, “patriarchy” etc. Maybe her voters like this kind of stuff, but it’s pretty clear (at least to me) that her strength and attractiveness during the mayoral campaign was in policies that went beyond these polarising ideological battles.


i mean they’ve literally joined a political party for the purpose of trying to put in place workable solutions to solve real problems facing nzers – whether you agree with their politics or not, you cannot deny that the green party has not, in the past, passed and assisted to pass a large amount of legislation that has done exactly that. now they’re a part of that, so what exactly is your issue?

they’re legislators now, does it get any better than for actually being able to create systemic change for nzers? what would you rather they spent their time doing if you hate them being in parliament so much but still insist that they come up with workable solutions to change nzers lives?

also, maiden speeches are not policy speeches – they’re to introduce yourself to parliament and to nz. it’s common practice that you talk about yourself and your life, and what motivated you to get into politics so that people get a feel for who you are. nobody uses their maiden speech to set out their plan for their next members bill in detail.

There are a lot more comments than that, this is just a bunch of discussion prompters.

Swarbrick may be a new generation politician – a different generation even to Jacinda Ardern, but she has to learn how to work in Parliament, with with her constituency and with MPs from other parties.

Leave a comment


  1. robertguyton

     /  18th November 2017

    Meh – it’s easy for a rightwing MP – there speeches are mostly ideological rote-learned padding. Hard to criticise for being “all over the place” because they’re so narrow as to seem a line. Lefties are far more divergent in their own thinking; it’s the nature of Left .v. Right. Most incoming Natty MPs’ maiden speeches are mind-numbingly dull.

    • “Most incoming Natty MPs’ maiden speeches are mind-numbingly dull.”

      To you perhaps. That doesn’t mean they should be dismissed based on one biased opinion.

      Some Opposition speeches have been praised here. I most post one or two – any suggestions?

      David Farrar describes Denise Lee’s speech as “particularly poignant” and quotes:

      One night, I woke, as a young parent, and decided to check on my two-year-old son Riley, to discover that he had died in his sleep.

      What ensued was a series of random interactions with a cold-hearted, function-driven system. The failure of police inquest officers, pathologists, and coroners to sensitively inform and communicate their process to two shell-shocked parents still mystifies me today.

      Loss comes in all forms, not just death but loss of careers, loss of confidence, and loss of relationships and marriage—my own succumbing to the high percentage of those that end upon the death of a child. With all our collective legislative wisdom, there shouldn’t also have to be loss of faith in a system supposedly designed to protect those that need it at precisely the time that they need it.

      Trying to keep up with where Riley’s body had gone, what they were doing to it, and what they were retaining from it; receiving an abruptly worded police letter informing us of our Coroner’s Court hearing date—it was all too much. No explanations, no frequently asked questions brochure—just a summons. You’ll understand, I thought that we were being put on trial for the death of our son.

      Walking through the valley of the shadow of death, trying to understand the legalities, and desperately wanting to just stay away from the world to get on with grieving, my sense of indignance grew. I was the one who had to ask to meet with the police and the pathologist and others to get a handle on who else might face what we did. The indignance formed a seed that merged into a big part of the driving force that sees me standing here today.

      I’m subsequently relieved that the coronial system has improved for people. The 2006 Coroners Act and later reviews better protect the interests of grieving families. Politics really did become personal for me then.

      Kiwiblog: https://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2017/11/denise_lee_maiden_speech.html
      Speech: https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/hansard-debates/rhr/document/HansS_20171114_057000000/lee-denise

      Do you think that speech was mind-numbingly dull Robert, or hadn’t you heard it?

      • I don’t think that this was the time or place for it. It’s a personal tragedy, but this is not the forum for these stories-and she makes a lot of generalisations. We learn little about why she entered politics.It might well be a suitable account in a place and time where such things are being discussed, but it’s too personal for this setting and for an MP’s maiden speech.

        The police and coroners have to follow set procedure to a large extent. It’s not their place to provide counselling, there are other places where that is done. People who have just suffered such a crushing loss are not always thinking straight and seeing things as they actually are-it is easy to think that more should be done.

    • PDB

       /  18th November 2017

      Robert: “Lefties are far more divergent in their own thinking”

      Cmon Robert – taxing and spending other people’s money until it’s all gone is hardly rocket science.

    • sorethumb

       /  19th November 2017

      Why is Catherine Delahunty’s classic no longer on line?

    • sorethumb

       /  19th November 2017

      robertguyton / November 18, 2017

      Meh – it’s easy for a rightwing MP
      The (new) left would never privilege a fellow citizen over a non-citizen merely because of a border. That’s why the wealthy Green MP’s are irrelevant to New Zealander workers.

  2. David

     /  18th November 2017

    She seems like a nice girl, heart in the right place and like most of the new Green MPs selected because she looks good on a magazine cover rather than having strapped ones self to an oil rig.
    I think its wrong to expect much of any substance and we should just be happy to keep these Green people there.

  3. Zedd

     /  18th November 2017


    I mentioned this speech, in the string about Golriz Ghahraman.. but the ‘class of 2017’ is one of the largest Ive seen recently (new MPs), just wondering why you have highlighted the 2 Green MPs ?
    Are you going to mention all the new Natz, Labour & NZF ones too ? 🙂

  4. sorethumb

     /  19th November 2017


    I must be one of the few people that isn’t really a fan of Chloe or Golriz. Both seem to be stereotypical social justice warriors that are out of touch with reality. Rather than focus on real problems in NZ Golriz seems obsessed with Manus Island – there are hundreds of millions of people around the world in much worse situations than them.
    Yes and back home hospitality and tourism employees real wages have fallen 24.5% between 1976 and 2006 (not much chance they are any better now).
    This is in line with what Ian Harrison says in http://www.tailrisk.co.nz/documents/TheSuperdiversityMyth.pdf

    James Shaw wants to be Mr Good Guy and rescue the rapid breading Kiribatti people to NZ.
    Kiribati: Tiny island’s struggle with overpopulation


    • I’m not a fan of them but I won’t write them off yet, it’s too early to tell how they will manage in Parliament. It depends on how well they learn what’s important and what’s effective, and if they can hack the political environment.

  5. sorethumb

     /  19th November 2017

    I think the big story this election was Winston Peters showing he is no Nigel Farage, he is politician first and thought he would capitalise on his general popularity. He has been a waster. He missed his cue when confronted by the Indian Sikh boy.


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