My day starts with lots of coffee. So far I’m not even missing the lattes which pepper my day when I work in the city. Life in my bubble is pretty special. My son is staying with his girlfriend and my youngest daughter is at Victoria University so it’s just me, my daughter Eva and our wonderful dog Shiloh, unless you count the goldfish. We live in a pretty house which looks over a park, so it is never boring. From my desk I can see families playing in their bubbles. It is a joyous place to be.
8:30am – 5pm
I work for myself as an employment barrister and I am also juggling the expectations of a candidate, so I am crazy busy. Right now, life is in crisis for many of my clients and the working day doesn’t have a lot of holes in it, but I am trying to make sure I take the dog on a decent walk. I have just discovered a little stone walkway I didn’t know about before lockdown because it is just for pedestrians. We go past pink and red blossom trees teaming with tuis.
My daughter is working six days a week in a medical centre. When she lost her job in recruitment in March due to Covid 19, she started working in the drive-through Covid 19 testing centres and then she moved to the permanent clinic. She comes home a little traumatised sometimes, but I am ridiculously proud of her.
Yoga is a big part of my life, although I am very bad at it. I am treating this lockdown as a yoga intensive. I Bubble Life with Helen White am grateful to the owner Kara, and teachers of the wonderful Yoga Ground, whose zoom classes are making so many of us happier and calmer at this stressful time.
If I am not on zoom after zoom – we kick back, cook and watch Netflix with the dog. I am treasuring this time with my daughter. She is the funniest person I have ever met, and I often hurt more after she has made me laugh than I do after a hard yoga session.
Chlöe Swarbrick Green Candidate for Auckland Central
Typical wake-up time, unless I’ve got an early breakfast TV panel via Zoom or international podcast, event, or interview. In lockdown, there’s the privilege of minimised travel time, so I’ll usually make myself a pour-over Chemex coffee while catching up with the news and sifting through emails and admin ahead of the day.
Every weekday, the Green Parliamentary office and caucus holds ‘Morning Call,’ which brings together MPs, political directors and staff to focus energy, share information and cross-pollinate each other’s work.
Time for coffee from a machine! Don a mask, grab a keep cup and contract trace. My locals are Daily Daily, OPEN and Bestie along Karangahape Road. They each know their way around an oat milk flat white.
I’ll touch base via phone with Tim Onnes, my right-hand man (executive assistant and researcher). We’ll run through scheduling, admin, things for sign-off and anything that may have slipped through the gaps.
As a Green MP in a smaller caucus, I’ve got around a dozen portfolios, so remain accountable not only to our local community, but stakeholders and organisations in a range of other areas. We regularly touch base in meetings so I’ve got skin in the game, they can fill me in on what needs doing, and we keep collaborating.
Each day there’s a community-facing talk or two that offers the opportunity to speak to New Zealanders in a range of different circumstances. Whether it’s schools, unis, rotary clubs, businesses or NGOs, it’s always so lovely to be welcomed into people’s passions and spaces.
Exercise. A run, some bodyweight stuff. Whatever can be fit in.
Time for a debate, panel, or Q&A of some sort! Lockdown hasn’t paused the flow of community engagement as everything has simply moved online.
With so many colleagues — our campaign team and my caucus — cycling through hectic schedules through the day, later in the evening is typically an opportunity to touch base over Zoom for any pressing issues, planning or consultation that couldn’t be squeezed in earlier.
A final wrap of emails, responding to comments on social media and putting ducks in a row for the next day to come.
Emma Mellow National Candidate for Auckland Central
It’s my first day as the Auckland Central candidate for the National Party and I rise early. My fiancé very kindly goes and fetches the NZ Herald so I can be across the issues of the day. It’s a big surprise that I’m on the front page! I watch a bit of the AM Show and Breakfast and scroll through social media before I head out the door.
I meet a team of enthusiastic Young Nats and supporters to wave National Party signs on Ponsonby Road. This is called ‘human hoardings’. This morning it’s raining but that doesn’t deter us, the toots roll in.
Breakfast with my campaign strategy team at Dizengoff on Ponsonby Road. It’s a local institution and their bagels are a must try. I love starting my day with poached eggs and a decaf, soy flat white. As our first meeting as a team we talk about our campaign plan. At the café I get the chance to meet a few locals for a chat.
As a candidate I suddenly have a media team to check in with and interviews to do. I do a few radio interviews talking about why Auckland Central needs a National MP and National’s plan for the economy and jobs.
I head out for a short run around Eden Terrace. I do a 5.5km route every few days when I have a gap in my diary. I finish in Basque Park, a hidden gem in Auckland Central. After my run I find leftovers in the fridge for a quick lunch.
I meet up with Nikki Kaye, the MP for Auckland Central who is supporting my candidacy. A key part of my campaign is getting out to meet as many people and businesses as I can, so we do a walk down Ponsonby Road together. TVNZ joins us to record the response – I’m having to get used to the cameras following me.
My first hoarding is erected by Victoria Park. I get on the tools to assist my hard-working volunteers who put signs around the electorate. There’s a bit more pressure than usual with both TVNZ and Newshub crews recording the moment.
I spend the next few hours responding to emails and messages from voters and organisations who want to know my position on issues. I also liaise with my campaign staff on my diary and invites received throughout the day. My fiancé cooks for us, tonight it’s a stir fry, my favourite.
I hear the news that New Zealand’s had community transmission, and Auckland is heading to level 3. It’s a shock. I think about how it’ll affect families and small businesses and offer my support to them on social media.