Poto Williams

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Poto Williams
MP
Poto Williams, 2013.jpg
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Christchurch East
Assumed office
28 January 2014
Assistant Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives
Assumed office
8 November 2017
Preceded by Lindsay Tisch
Personal details
Born (1962-01-07) 7 January 1962 (age 55)
Wellington, New Zealand
Political party Labour Party
Alma mater Southern Cross University

Munokoa Poto Williams MP (born 7 January 1962) is a member of Parliament for the New Zealand Labour Party since the 2013 Christchurch East by-election. After Alfred Ngaro she is the second Cook Islander elected to the Parliament.

Early life and education

Williams, who is of Cook Island descent, was born in Wellington and grew up in Auckland, where she attended Beresford Street School and Auckland Girls' Grammar.[1] Williams graduated from Southern Cross University in New South Wales, Australia with an MBA[2] and as of the start of 2014 was completing a doctorate on Pacific women's leadership.[3]

Professional career

Williams has worked for the Ministry of Education, BirthRight, Healthcare NZ and disability agencies.[1] She moved from Auckland to Christchurch's suburb of New Brighton in January 2013 to take up a position as regional manager of the St John of God Hauora Trust.[4] She resigned from that role during the election campaign so that she could focus "110%" on the election.[5]

Political career

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate List Party
2013–2014 50th Christchurch East Labour
2014–2017 51st Christchurch East 28 Labour
2017–present 52nd Christchurch East 25 Labour

Williams first got politically involved through making submissions on family violence and child welfare issues, which she has a strong interest in.[1] She has served as a member of the Community Child Protection Review Panel, was involved in the Waitakere Community Law Service and Community Waitakere, and was part of the Living Wage Campaign and the LIFEWISE Big Sleepout.[3]

Williams won the 2013 Christchurch East by-election with a "whopping"[6] 61 per cent of the vote, delivering a "crushing victory".[7] On 28 January 2014, Williams was sworn in as a member of the House of Representatives.[8]

Williams recently suggested removing the presumption of innocence afforded to alleged perpetrators of sexual assault.[9]

On 8 November 2017, Williams was elected to the office of Assistant Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives. National Party Opposition Members tried challenging her nomination for the office on the basis she was not yet sworn in. Speaker Trevor Mallard dismissed the challenges made by National Members by stating that the one of the criteria for being nominated and elected as a presiding officer was being a Member of Parliament - which she was by virtue of the finalised election results. She however would not be able to conduct her business as Assistant Speaker until she had been sworn in.[10]

References

  1. ^ a b c "Chch East candidate: Poto Williams". Stuff.co.nz. 16 November 2013. Retrieved 25 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Hutching, Chris. "New bloods vie for Christchurch East". National Business Review. Retrieved 25 November 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Poto Williams selected as Labour Christchurch East Candidate | Scoop News". Scoop.co.nz. 22 September 2013. Retrieved 25 November 2013. 
  4. ^ "Labour picks community worker for Chch East". Radio New Zealand. 21 September 2013. Retrieved 22 September 2013. 
  5. ^ Conway, Glenn (28 September 2013). "Unknown, but undaunted". The Press. p. A15. 
  6. ^ Bayer, Kurt (30 November 2013). "Poto Williams wins Christchurch East by-election". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 30 November 2013. 
  7. ^ "Chch by-election an easy Labour win". The Press. 30 November 2013. Retrieved 30 November 2013. 
  8. ^ (28 January 2014) 696 NZPD 1.
  9. ^ Wall, Tony (30 April 2017). "Police are telling rape victims their hands are tied if the accused denies it". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 4 May 2017. 
  10. ^ "Read Hansard Reports". Retrieved 2017-11-08. 
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