We're really excited to bring you a powerful line-up of speakers ready to share practical, evidence-based solutions and ideas. They represent the top thinkers in their field, both on the global stage and from the front lines here in Aotearoa NZ.
We’re still finalising a few more speakers so make sure you check back to see the latest updates.
Wendy Allison is the founder and Managing Director of KnowYourStuffNZ.
Wendy has a background in event risk management and a degree in Criminology and Social Policy with a focus on drug policy. She has been advocating for a harm reduction approach to drugs since 2008, and started KnowYourStuffNZ in 2014 when it became evident that direct action would be required to get movement towards change. She is interested in improving equity of access to harm reduction services.
Ben Birks Ang is Deputy Executive Director - Programmes at NZ Drug Foundation.
Ben has worked with young people in the drug and alcohol sector for over a decade, and has built up a strong network.
He also has many years’ experience in developing and delivering treatment services for young people, including establishing and overseeing school-based, community, and residential drug and alcohol treatment programmes. He is a registered addiction practitioner and accredited clinical supervisor.
In addition, Ben is the Chair of the Addiction Practitioners Association of Aotearoa New Zealand (dapaanz).
Professor Michael Baker is a public health physician and Professor in the Department of Public Health at the University of Otago, Wellington where he has worked full-time since 2003.
He has a wide range of public health research interests, with a focus on infectious diseases, environmental health, and improving housing conditions.
Michael’s first project in public health was to assist with establishing the New Zealand Needle Exchange Programme in 1988, which was the first national programme of its type in the world. It contributed to keeping HIV infection at very low levels in the NZ Injecting Drug User population. This experience has given Michael a strong interest in promoting a harm minimisation approach to drug policy.
His work during 2020-21 has been dominated by assisting with the Covid-19 pandemic response. Michael is a member of the Ministry of Health’s Covid-19 Technical Advisory Group (TAG) and has been the leading advocate for the Covid-19 elimination strategy.
Michael’s work in public health, and the Covid-19 response in particular, was recognised by a number of awards including: the Critic and Conscience of Society Award (from Universities New Zealand), being made a Member of the NZ Order of Merit (MNZM), and his selection as the 2020 Wellingtonian of the Year.
Prof Joe Boden is a Professor in the Department of Psychological Medicine in the University of Otago Christchurch, and is the Director of the Christchurch Health and Development Study (CHDS).
Joe's research interests are primarily in mental health and substance use over the life span, and statistical methods in longitudinal research.
He has led the substance use research component for the CHDS since 2009. He was awarded a University of Otago Gold Medal for Research Excellence in 2017, and served on the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor’s Expert Panel on Cannabis.
Chester Borrows is a social agitator/commentator and head of the Safe and Effective Justice Advisory Group. He is also a former Former National MP, lawyer and police officer.
chester joined the Police as a 17 year old cadet in 1975 and spent 24 years working mainly as a Detective investigating serious crime in cities and smaller communities.
He left the police to stand for parliament as the National Party candidate in Whanganui,. He gained a law degree from Victoria University and worked as defence council for three years, before finally entering parliament in 2005.
In parliament Chester worked in Justice roles in both Opposition and Government. He was Minister for Courts and Associate Minister for Justice and Social Development, with responsibility for Youth Justice among other portfolios. He was also Deputy Speaker before he retired from Parliament.
Since 2017 Chester has chaired the Safe and Effective Justice Advisory Board Te Uepu Hapai te a Ora, he writes Cultural Reports for Courts and is also the Archdeacon for Waitotara in Central and South Taranaki.
Russell Brown has been writing and broadcasting about drug policy in New Zealand for more than 25 years.
He has covered drug reform issues for Matters of Substance, the New Zealand Herald, TV shows Media7 and Media Take and his own website Public Address, and created the eight-part RNZ podcast ‘From Zero’, which looked at the history and future of New Zealanders and their drugs of choice.
Martin describes his life in general as ‘colourful’. Throughout which he has held a lifelong passion and commitment to social justice, that is despite his ongoing personal mental distress and addiction challenges.
This commitment has led him to occupy positions of systemic influence in both the Trade Union movement and the MHA sector. In these spaces he has held both regional and national roles.
He is currently the Programme Director of Lived Experience, within the Mental Health and Addiction Directorate of the Ministry of Health, where he has joint responsibility with the LE Team to position people, their families/whanau, and communities at the centre of the reimagined MHA ‘landscape’ articulated in He Ara Oranga. Simultaneously he holds a Clinical Lecturer role/Experiential, with the National Addiction Centre, Department of Psychological Medicine, Christchurch School of Medicine, University of Otago.
In between times he is weekend warrior, alternating his time between a passion for kayaking and biking. He is proud to be participating in this Symposium.
Noeleen Chaney is part of the Te Ara Oranga, meth harm reduction team.
She has worked in the helping professions for over 20 years. Noeleen first qualified as a child and family social worker from the university of Bath, UK before emigrating to NZ in 2006 and continuing training as a CBT therapist at Massey University.
Noeleen has been working in Mental Health and Addictions in New Zealand since 2007 in both government and NGO roles. Currently, she works within Northland DHB as an AOD educator - part of the Te Ara Oranga, meth harm reduction team. Noeleen is currently on secondment into the position of AOD professional lead.
Anna Christophorou is Development Manager for The Speed freaks – Running for Recovery.
A qualified social worker, she began her career in the UK, from needle exchange to start up services, prison to community programmes.
Relocating to New Zealand in 2002, she has been integral in introducing new ideas and perspectives to the AOD sector in Christchurch through her work with Odyssey House.
A runner and founding member of The Speed Freaks, Anna is establishing The Speed Freaks Charity and will be piloting the programme nationally.
Anna is passionate about community connection and the impact these relationships have in challenging stigma and discrimination for our clients and their whanau.
Helen Clark was Prime Minister of New Zealand for three successive terms from 1999–2008.
Throughout her tenure as Prime Minister and as a Member of Parliament over 27 years, Helen Clark engaged widely in policy development and advocacy across the international, economic, social, environmental, and cultural spheres. She advocated strongly for New Zealand’s comprehensive programme on sustainability and for tackling the problems of climate change. She was an active leader of her country’s foreign relations, engaging in a wide range of international issues.
In April 2009, Helen Clark became Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). She was the first woman to lead the organisation, and served two terms there. At the same time, she was also Chair of the United Nations Development Group, a committee consisting of all UN funds, programmes, agencies, and departments working on development issues. As Administrator, she led UNDP to be ranked the most transparent global development organisation. She completed her tenure in 2017.
Helen Clark came to the role of Prime Minister after an extensive parliamentary and ministerial career. Prior to being elected to the New Zealand Parliament in 1981, Helen Clark taught in the Political Studies Department of the University of Auckland, from which she earlier graduated with her BA and MA (Hons) degrees.
Helen continues to be a strong voice for sustainable development, climate action, gender equality and women’s leadership, peace and justice, and action on pressing global health issues. In July 2020, she was appointed by the Director-General of the World Health Organisation as a Co-Chair of the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response, called for by the World Health Assembly, which will report in May this year.
Katherine (Kathy) Errington is the Founding Executive Director of the Helen Clark Foundation, a public policy think tank based at AUT.
She wrote the 2019 paper 'the case for yes' summarising the evidence behind legalising cannabis in New Zealand, and has led the Helen Clark Foundation's work programme around drug policy.
Prior to working at the Helen Clark Foundation Kathy was a diplomat, posted to the New Zealand embassy in Tokyo from 2013-2018, and worked in the Pacific division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade from 2011-2013.
Johann Hari is a British writer who has authored two New York Times best-selling books. His first book, ‘Chasing the Scream: the First and Last Days of the War on Drugs’, has been adapted into the Oscar-nominated film ‘The United States Vs Billie Holiday’. Johann was Executive Producer of the movie.
It has also been adapted into a separate eight-part documentary series, to be released later in 2021.
His second book, ‘Lost Connections: Uncovering The Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions’ was described by the British Journal of General Practice as “one of the most important texts of recent years”, and shortlisted for an award by the British Medical Association.
Selah Hart is the Chief Executive Officer of Hāpai Te Hauora, an Iwi-owned national Māori Public Health agency.
Hāpai aims to increase opportunities for the communities they serve to enjoy good health and to be sustained by healthy environments. They do this by providing a strategic focus that is underpinned by evidence based research for the advancement of health and well-being for all. They work both regionally and nationally to address health inequities and provide strategic solutions for long term outcomes.
Hāpai celebrates a unique position of being a conduit between people and policy.
Selah has tribal affiliations to Ngāti Kuia, Rangitane o Wairau, Ngāi Tahu in the South Island, and Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa in the North Island of Aotearoa New Zealand.
Sarah Helm (Ngāi Tahu, pākehā) is the Executive Director of the NZ Drug Foundation.
She has been at the forefront of change on health, youth, social and environmental issues throughout her career. She brings a mix of organisational management, public health, health promotion, strategy, political, marketing and communications skills to the Drug Foundation.
She has formally worked for the Alcohol Advisory Council, Health Promotion Agency, NZ AIDS Foundation and for a number of years headed the NZ Association of Adolescent Health & Development (Ara Taiohi). Most recently Sarah worked for the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet as the Strategic Communications Manager for the COVID-19 response.
Dr Huhana Hickey (MNZM) (Ngāti Tāhinga, Whakatōhea) is an academic and disability rights lawyer.
She is also a medicinal cannabis user and advocate, an Odyssey board member, business owner and facilitator, and is actively involved in multiple governance and community organisations. She was the first openly disabled Housing NZ board member, and is an unflinching advocate for whānau hauā and all disabled people.
Huhana also has multiple sclerosis, meaning she lives with chronic pain. She was the first person in NZ to be prescribed medicinal cannabis product Tilray, but like most she is currently unable to afford it due to the prohibitive cost. She is committed to sensible and practical approaches to law and policy, particularly when it comes to medicinal cannabis, which she believes must be accessible to all socio-economic groups instead of just those wealthy enough to pay the price.
Alison Holcomb is Political Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Washington. She has also served as criminal justice director, and in 2014 was named national director of the ACLU Campaign to End Mass Incarceration.
In her role as director of the Campaign to End Mass Incarceration, she worked "to reform state-level criminal justice policies that have increased incarceration rates dramatically during a period of declining crime and have exacerbated racial disparities"
Andrew Hopgood is a Tutor and Lecturer of Counselling and Addiction Studies at Wellington Institute of Technology.
He has worked in alcohol and other drug rehabilitation for over 10 years, including setting up and running rehabilitation centres.
He is a founding member of New Zealand P Pull. - a volunteer project that morphed into more of a movement. He has trained volunteers to operate in 14 different communities throughout the North Island, motivating, educating and supporting people who are suffering from methamphetamine addiction and their whānau.
Emily Hughes is a Programme Lead at the NZ Drug Foundation.
Emily has a Masters in Psychology and over 6 years experience in health and research, working across cognitive research, behavioral intervention, m-health tool development, and project management. She has come from a role as a Senior Manager of Public Health and most recently, coordinated testing and health outreach during COVID19.
She is a champion for equity within the health system and firmly believes that a harm-reduction approach to alcohol and other drugs is imperative to this.
Dr Fiona Hutton is an Associate Professor (Reader) at the Institute of Criminology, Victoria University Wellington - Te Herenga Waka.
Fiona’s teaching and research cover a number of topics including criminological theory, youth crime and cultures, gender, drug policy, harm reduction, alcohol and other drugs.
She is the author of ‘Risky Pleasures? Club Cultures and Feminine Identities’ (Ashgate, 2006), and the edited collection ‘Cultures of Intoxication: Key Issues and Debates’ (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2020).
Fiona is currently researching the experiences of people with a drug-related conviction, as well as critically exploring the concept of intoxication, and how the intoxication practices of diverse groups are experienced and responded to.
Philippa Jones is National Operations Manager for the NZ Needle Exhange Programme.
She has over 20 years’ experience in executive roles in the public sector. In her leadership roles she has put people at the centre and designed strategies and services to enhance employee and customer engagement and improve business performance. Her industry experience spans the social sector, local government, healthcare, tertiary education, and management consulting. She has led broad ranging portfolios including Human Resources, Business Change, Information Technology, Marketing and Communications, Facilities Management, Customer Services, and Business Improvement & Reporting.
Philippa joined the NZ Needle Exchange Programme in November 2020 with a mandate to enhance services for clients and build on the strengths of the national needle exchange network. She has a Master of Arts and Post Graduate Diploma in Industrial and Organisational Psychology.
Oscar Kightley is a Samoan born writer/actor and director who grew up in New Zealand and who has helped create critically acclaimed award-winning work for the stage, small and big screens. He has been a key player in bringing Pasifika stories into New Zealand's mainstream.
Oscar is part of The Naked Samoans, a comedy troupe that have worked on stage and screen for over 20 years now. They have a following in New Zealand, Australia and the US. They starred in the Sione’s Wedding movies, five seasons of cartoon ‘Bro Town’ and TV comedy Radiradirah with their most recent performance at the Auckland Arts Festival in 2018 premiering their latest show, in conjunction with The Conch Charitable Trust, “The Nakeds Samoans Do Magic”.
Professor Nicole Lee is a leader in alcohol and other drug responses, with 30 years’ experience in policy and practice implementation. She is internationally known for her work in methamphetamine treatment and policy.
Nicole is Founder and CEO of specialist alcohol and other drug agency 360Edge, and Adjunct Professor at the National Drug Research Institute Curtin University. She is a member of the Australian National Council on Alcohol and other Drugs (ANACAD) - Australia’s key expert advisory council to the Australian Government on drugs - and board member of Hello Sunday Morning.
She has provided advice to Australian, State and Territory governments as well as International governments across South East Asia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands and has worked on alcohol and other drug policy with major international organisations such as the World Health Organization and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
Andrew Little is currently the Minister of Health and Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations.
He is also the Minister Responsible for the GCSB, NZSIS, and for Pike River Re-entry. In addition, he has been appointed the Lead Coordinating Minister for the Government's Response to the Royal Commission's Report into the Terrorist Attack on the Christchurch Mosques.
Andrew has devoted his whole life to advocating for New Zealanders.
Growing up in New Plymouth, Andrew organised a cake-stall fundraiser for hungry and homeless African children. After university, where he studied law and philosophy, Andrew headed the Victoria University Students’ Association and New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations where he marched for better access to affordable education.
After graduation Andrew became a lawyer with the engineers’ union, ensuring employers lived up to their employment obligations to treat their staff with dignity and respect. In 2000, he was appointed EPMU national secretary and led New Zealand’s largest private sector union for a decade.
Andrew entered Parliament in 2011 with a mission to leave behind a better country – a New Zealand where everyone has the opportunities he and his wife, Leigh, wish for their teenage son, Cam.
As Leader of the Opposition (2014 – 2017) Andrew stood alongside unions and workers to successfully end zero-hours contracts.
Detective Inspector Blair Macdonald is the Manager of the National Drug Intelligence Bureau (NDIB) and New Zealand’s drug early warning system, Drug Information and Alerts Aotearoa New Zealand (DIANZ).
The NDIB is a multi-agency team, comprised of analysts from the New Zealand Police, Ministry of Health, and the New Zealand Customs Service. Blair and his team provide strategic intelligence on the New Zealand drug environment to our country’s decision makers, to reduce drug harm and improve social wellbeing. Blair has 20 years’ experience in the Police, he is passionate about fostering new and innovative approaches to reducing drug harm, and enabling community led responses.
Blair participates in both the New Zealand Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs and the United Nations Heads of National Drug Enforcement Agencies group. Through the work of DIANZ, he brings together key stakeholders from across the health sector to identify where in our communities acute drug harm is occurring or emerging – he then manages a co-ordinated response to prevent further harm from taking place.
Blair also manages New Zealand’s wastewater testing programme. This programme provides objective and real time estimates of illicit drug consumption across the country, adding to our evidence-base and contributing to the development of harm prevention strategies.
Jim Matheson is an Education system and organisation performance consultant, and Deputy Chair of the NZ Drug Foundation.
He has a background in educational leadership, governance, strategy development and implementation and is an education consultant. Much of Jim’s work focuses on how communities and whanau can get the most value from education.
He is also a father and grandfather. He lives in Otaki where he is guardian to one of the few viable populations of endangered native snails.
Kali Mercier is Policy & Advocacy Manager at the NZ Drug Foundation.
Kali has an extensive background in advocacy, policy and human rights across many international locations including Mexico, Berlin, London and Botswana. She has an LLB (Hons), a BA majoring in German and French, and a Masters in Development Studies.
A highlight of her career was helping Survival International run a high-profile campaign on behalf of the Kalahari ‘Bushmen’, seeing their land rights case successfully through the High Court of Botswana. Prior to joining the Drug Foundation, Kali helped develop youth crime policy as a senior advisor at the Ministry of Justice. At the NZ Drug Foundation she works on a range of policy issues including drug law reform and medicinal cannabis.
Andrew Munro is the Meth Help Team Coordinator, Odyssey House Christchurch .
Andrew has been with Meth Help team for for the past 3 years. Before that he worked for Odyssey House Victoria for seven years, where he specialised in Alcohol and drug therapy for families and young people.
He is a Clinical Social Worker with extensive experience in specialist mental health services, both for the Canterbury District Health Board and primary mental health.
Erin Scarlett O'Neill is the Founder and Executive Director of Brave Hearts NZ, a Registered Charity.
Erin is the mother of two sons, one of whom has struggled with an addiction to methamphetamine. Because of this experience she is passionate about supporting other families in similar situations by providing education, advocacy and support through phone calls, individual family sessions, seminars and group meetings currently held in Bay of Plenty, Hamilton, Manukau, Nelson, Motueka and Clutha.
Originally from Auckland, with a background in business ownership, events and marketing, Erin is working full time on Brave Hearts in Tauranga. Her role comprises everything from phone answering, engaging speakers/facilitators for meetings, individual peer support sessions and public speaking – telling the story of a family journey – reducing stigma and giving hope.
Fiona Patten MP was elected in 2014 as a Member of the Victorian Legislative Council for the Northern Metropolitan Region. Voters then rewarded Fiona for all her hard work by re-electing her in 2018.
Fiona is Leader of the Reason Party. Reason is a future-focused, evidence-based movement committed to delivering equality, sustainability and freedom through new methods of political engagement and pragmatic consultation.
She is currently the Chair of the Victorian Parliament’s Legal and Social Issues Committee – the only independent Committee. Fiona is leading the Inquiry into Cannabis Use in Victoria, oversaw the Inquiry into Drug Law Reform and the recent wide-ranging Victorian Inquiry into Homelessness. The committee has just commenced an inquiry into Victoria’s Criminal Justice System.
Fiona is also a member of the Scrutiny of Acts and Regulation Committee, Acting President in the Legislative Council and sits on the Victorian Industrial Hemp Taskforce with the Minister for Agriculture and the Member for Mildura.
In 2019, Fiona was selected to Chair the Government Review of Sex Work Laws. The final report, with a plethora of key recommendations has been presented to the government who are due to respond midway through 2021. It is expected they will take up Fiona’s recommendation to finally decimalise sex work across the state.
Fiona introduced the Drugs Poisons and Controlled Substances Amendment (Medically Supervised Injecting Centre) Bill to Parliament, and secured the first medically-supervised injecting centre (MSIC) in Victoria in July 2018. Following lobbying, a second Safe Injecting Room will open in Melbourne this year.
Reason has presented the Road Safety Amendment (Medicinal Cannabis) Bill to Parliament and advised the Medicinal Cannabis and Safe Driving Working Group, which was established to consider approaches on managing medicinal cannabis and safe driving in Victoria. This would mean that medicinal cannabis, when prescribed by a medical practitioner, would be treated in the same way as other prescription medication under the Road Safety Act.
Fiona was responsible for the Victorian laws that created Safe Access Zones around women’s reproductive health clinics. This initiative has been widely praised for the impact it has had on improving women’s medical privacy as well as access to reproductive health options.
Without a doubt one of Fiona’s crowning achievements has been the parliamentary inquiry she initiated that led to the introduction of Dying with Dignity laws in Victoria – an Australian first. Without Fiona’s dogged advocacy on this issue, Victorians would not have the compassionate choice they now do to end their lfe peacefully at a time of their own choosing.
Amongst her many awards, last year Fiona was proud to be named the Australian Humanist of the Year 2020.
Sheridan Pooley MA, (Hons. First class) is Consumer Advisor at CADS Auckland and chair of the Addiction Consumer Leadership Group – Te Pou.
Sheridan first walked into an addiction service in the early 1980s and has been a client on and off ever since. With the encouragement and support of her counsellor, Sheridan studied sociology (and other things) at Auckland University and completed a Master of Arts which included researching and writing a thesis In another Vein: The Social Consequences of Methadone Maintenance Treatment.
During a break from uni Sheridan began volunteering at Auckland’s first needle exchange. She has been Consumer Advisor at CADS Auckland Since 2001, and in that time she has built a small (but perfectly formed) consumer team. She is chair of the Addiction Consumer Leadership Group – Te Pou, another (perfectly formed) team of people who have used or continue to use AOD services as part of their recovery, and who are committed to ensuring services are responsive to the needs of people with alcohol and other drug issues.
Tuari Potiki has been extensively involved in the Māori health, mental health, education and justice sectors for more than 25 years. He has worked in a number of different roles as a Māori alcohol and drug clinician and tutor before moving into management roles in both the public and non-government sector.
From 1994 – 1997 Tuari managed the Taha Māori programme at Queen Mary Hospital, Hanmer Springs before moving to the Community AOD Service in Christchurch, where he helped establish a Whānau Clinic for Māori clients and a Māori Methadone programme.
Tuari has extensive governance experience, and was recently appointed to the Whānau Ora Independent Reference Group. He has served on the boards of Southern District Health, Canterbury District Health, the Canterbury Community Trust and Ngāi Tahu’s Health and Social Service agency He Oranga Pounamu. He was also Senior Māori Advisor to the National Addiction Centre who sit within the University of Otago.
Tuari is currently the Director of Māori Development, Otago University. Before that he was based in Wellington as General Manager of Strategic Operations for the Alcohol Advisory Council of New Zealand (ALAC).
Khylee Quince (Ngāpuhi and Ngati Porou) is Associate professor, Interim Dean and director of Māori and Pacific Advancement at AUT School of Law. She is also Chair of the Drug Foundation Board.
Khylee has nearly 20 years’ experience teaching and researching criminal law, youth justice, and Māori and the criminal justice system. She is the author of “Youth Justice in New Zealand” and in 2014 was the recipient of a National Tertiary Teaching Excellence Award for Sustained Excellence.
Khylee has extensive governance experience at local and national levels.
Professor Papaarangi Reid is Tumuaki and Head of Department of Maori Health at the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, New Zealand.
She holds science and medical degrees from the University of Auckland and is a specialist in public health medicine.
Papaarangi has tribal affiliations to Te Rarawa in the Far North of Aotearoa and her research interests include analysing disparities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous citizens as a means of monitoring government commitment to Indigenous rights.
Rachel Scaife is the Operations Manager for Community Services, Odyssey.
Rachel has worked in the alcohol and drug field for the past 22 years both here in New Zealand and the in UK. Since moving to New Zealand 14 years ago, Rachel has worked in a variety of settings including residential programmes, managing a peer/clinician partnership, Operations Manager for Te Wairua Services, Odyssey before leaving in 2019 to have her daughter. Rachel returned from maternity leave to work on establishing Haven.
Rachel is passionate about ensuring that clients get the best possible experience, and values-lived experience within the workplace.
Seb Stewart is Lead Facilitator for Rewired, an 8-week mutual aid group for gay men who want to change their relationship with methamphetamine.
Seb also works at Auckland Prison as a Practitioner at the Odyssey Drug Treatment Programme and contracts to New Zealand AIDS Foundation to deliver mindfulness groups for People Living with HIV.
He lives in a peaceful seaside village, not far from Auckland, with his partner Richie and their cat Frankie.
Debby Sutton has worked in the addiction treatment sector for over 25 years in a variety of roles, with a focus on workforce, organisational and system-level development. Currently, she works within Odyssey’s Strategic Initiatives team in Auckland. Debby is also an elected board member of dapaanz, the professional body for the addiction treatment workforce.
For the last five years, Debby was programme manager for the Counties Manukau AOD Provider Collaborative, a collective of 16 alcohol and drug services which worked together on system-level projects. One of these projects focused on enhancing the alcohol and drug support available for people who are involved with the Manukau District Court.
With qualifications in community psychology, Debby is passionate about harnessing the wisdom and power of community to create innovative solutions for collective impact.
Chlöe Swarbrick is the Green Party MP for Auckland Central.
She grew up in an Auckland family who raised her on a diet of robust and challenging discussion, in a community that showed her that inequality and injustice were a daily reality for too many New Zealanders.
She has been a law student, journalist, business owner and a community project leader. When interviewing politicians of all stripes on daily issues she found that too often they had become out of sync with the orbit of everyday people’s lives. She couldn’t see herself, her friends, or her whānau in politics.
So, in 2016 Chlöe did what any reasonable, disillusioned 22 year old would do. She ran to be the Mayor of Auckland.
A year later, Chlöe stood as a Green Party candidate, and was elected into Parliament in 2017. Last year, Chlöe was elected as MP for Auckland Central, making her Aotearoa’s youngest MP in over 40 years.
She is focused on opening up parliament and politics to all New Zealanders, so they can see that our institutions are just made up of people making decisions. Chlöe wants to shine light on the privilege and discrimination that has kept too many people away from politics until now.
Dr Jez Weston has been the Deputy and Operations Manager for KnowYourStuffNZ since 2015. He has experience in science, policy and investment.
He is a Partner in New Zealand's first Climate Venture Capital Fund and also works in the public sector, supporting the commercialisation of research. He is interested in how NZ ideas can grow to scale, have impact, and make a difference.
Arena Williams (Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki, Ngāi Tahu, Ngāi Tūhoe) is the Labour Member of Parliament for Manurewa. Arena sits on the Justice and Māori Affairs select committees.
She is a lawyer and mother of two, and lives in Manurewa with her husband and two young children.
Before her election to Parliament Arena served as a member of the Waitematā District Health Board, so has a keen interest in health policy and Māori justice issues.
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