Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick has been elected to represent the Auckland Central electorate, within which the University of Auckland sits, following this year’s General Election.
Swarbrick beat out Labour’s Helen White and National’s Emma Mellow to take Auckland Central. This is only the second time a Green MP has won an electorate seat; in the last term, all eight Green MPs were brought in from the party list when the Greens won 6.27% of the party vote.
Swarbrick has a history of advocating for issues important to students, having been the Greens’ tertiary education spokesperson for the past term. Most recently, Swarbrick was involved in advocating for the establishment of an inquiry into student accommodation following widespread reports that students were being charged for unoccupied rooms during the nationwide Level 4 lockdown.
Despite Swarbrick’s historic win indicating that younger voters may be turning out to vote, Auckland Central has notably low rates of enrolment to vote. Before the election, Stuff found that electorates surrounding universities in many of New Zealand’s major cities have especially low rates of voter enrolment.
Following the result, Swarbrick has turned her attention to looking at issues affecting Auckland Central. Last week, Swarbrick told the media that addressing homelessness and inequality, improving public transport and creating green spaces in the city were some of the top concerns for the electorate.
With special votes still to come in, the vote margins may change slightly. However, with Swarbrick almost 500 votes ahead of the next closest contender, it is likely that she will represent Auckland Central in the 2020-2023 term.