National list MP Brett Hudson, 51, has replaced Chris Bishop as the Opposition police spokesperson. He is also the spokesperson for commerce and consumer affairs and government digital services and the associate spokesperson for transport.
- After a career in the information and communication technologies (ICT) sector, what led you to want to be an MP?
After years of selling ICT solutions to improve businesses productivity, I saw politics as a way to use that thinking across the economy. Mobile technology for frontline police is a good example of how technology delivers real improvements.
- You ended up in an unexpected situation in the Ōhāriu electorate in 2017 after long standing sitting MP Peter Dunne quit the race. How did you adapt to that?
I had enormous support within the electorate and from colleagues throughout the country. With only weeks till election day, we simply knuckled down and focused on what could be done, not on what couldn’t.
- Tell us about your early life, your family and education, and growing up in Porirua?
It was a simple childhood – outdoor games, biking and skateboarding around the Porirua basin, movies in school halls. My father was a ministerial chauffeur and my mother was a machinist at Jantzen Swimwear in Tawa. I’m a proud Mana College old boy and, apparently, its first MP (though US Open golf champion Michael Campbell beats that achievement).
My BA in history and psychology from Victoria led to 20 years in ICT. Go figure.
- Where do you live now and, if money or circumstances were no object, where would you like to live?
I live in Khandallah. As a proud Ōhāriu-based servant, if money and circumstance were no object, I’d still live in Ōhāriu, though my partner and I occasionally dream of a post-politics life in wherever we’re visiting at the time. We’re spoiled for choice in New Zealand.
- Just to be nosy… tell us about your love life?
My long-term partner, Lindsay, keeps my feet firmly on the ground and my head focused on the real world. We have a blended family of three children each, which has made house-hunting interesting.
- Do you have hobbies or interests outside public life?
I enjoy cycling (but haven’t been on my bike much in recent months.) I’m more of a “sports” cyclist than a commuter or recreational cyclist, though I won’t threaten any stopwatch or other competitors.
- What links, if any, have you had with police in the past?
Well, I’ve never been arrested… but I led the teams that installed computers in police stations in the late 90s when I worked at IBM. Despite the challenging climate – it was part of the INCIS project – our teams installing the hardware did an excellent job and we had good professional relationships with officers countrywide.
- It’s been a busy year for Police with the unprecedented demands arising from the Christchurch terror attacks, the firearms buy-back and amnesty, and increased recruitment. Do you have any messages to share with the frontline?
The Police response on March 15 was outstanding, including police interactions with the public during the heightened security afterwards. I respect the work police do, often under trying circumstances and at real personal risk. You have the public’s back every day. You need to know we have yours.
- What would your measure of success be as opposition police spokesperson?
- Meeting police in all roles, and better understanding their real work and challenges.
- Taking policies into the next election that will support police and keep Kiwis safe.
- Holding the Government to account by ensuring promises match rhetoric, and telling voters when they don’t.
- We hear you’re a keen motorcyclist, as well as cyclist, and you’re still in one piece. Any advice for staying safe on the road?
- Ride to the conditions.
- No matter how good you think you are, reality probably disagrees.
- You’ll always come off second best.
- Respect other road users as you’d like them to respect you.
- When you wave to someone, remember to use all your fingers.