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Classic New Zealand

Tuesday 22nd August 2017

The Greens' leader plus Labour, TOP and NZ First candidates turned up at some dude they'd never met's housewarming on Saturday night to talk politics. New Zealand, eh?

From left: Mark Harvey, Clive Fernandes, Greens leader James Shaw, Marcus Atkinson and Libby Johns.

Photo: Supplied.

While some of us* were drinking whiskey alone on their 34th birthday while texting their ex and assembling a wine rack, political candidates were at a random politically-themed Auckland housewarming talking policy and drinking beers. 


On Saturday night, Green Party leader James Shaw - accompanied by the party's New Lynn candidate Leilani Tamu, as well as Labour’s Helen White, TOP’s Dan Thurston and NZ First chairman Julian Paul - joined about 50 guests at what Shaw called “the nerdiest housewarming party ever” in an Auckland apartment. 

The couple hosting the do - Clive Fernandes and Libby Johns - were unsure who to vote for, so contacted political parties to invite a candidate along. Fernandes said they weren’t expecting much of a response. 

“I was in Auckland anyway,” said Shaw, who lives in Wellington. 

“I had stuff happening on Saturday and Sunday ... Leilani Tamu had got the invitation and was going to go.” Tamu invited Shaw to tag along, so he did.

“It was a much better use of my time than whatever else I might have gotten up to on Saturday night,” Shaw said. 

He would probably have watched an episode of Game of Thrones on the couch, he said. Instead, Shaw and Tamu spent about three and a half hours mingling.

“There were candidates from Labour, TOP and NZ First … we just did our ‘vote for us because...’ pitch and took questions from the crowd. It was occasionally a little bit rowdy, but generally good natured.”

Photo: supplied.

Photo: supplied.

Fernandes said he and Johns had just moved into the Central Auckland apartment. About a week before the housewarming, they decided to invite a candidate from each of the major parties along. 

The only party that didn’t respond was National, Fernandes said. 

He said he’s no longer sitting on the fence about who to vote for, but told The Wireless he’d prefer to keep it to himself. Fernandes also said several of his friends who were at the party who’d not planned to vote on 23 September had changed their minds, in what he called a “positive outcome".

In a picture shared on imgur, one of the people who attended the party wrote under the heading “Reason #34,209 I love New Zealand:

“First of all, holy cow, can you imagine something like this happening anywhere else when you aren’t connected and don’t have tons of cash? We got to have drinks with our candidates at some dude they had never met's housewarming party.” 


*I was

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Susan Strongman is an Auckland-based journalist at The Wireless. She is interested in social issues, human rights and people, but prefers to spend her spare time with her cats.
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