Chch East candidate: Gareth Veale

Act candidate in the Christchurch East by-election Gareth Veale and partner Gemma Jones.
Act candidate in the Christchurch East by-election Gareth Veale and partner Gemma Jones.

He has followed politics all of his 24 years and now Gareth Veale is in the middle of his first political campaign.

The West Coaster started out supporting Labour but has crossed the political spectrum to stand for the ACT Party.

Born in Greymouth, most of his schooling was done on the coast but he spent Year 12 and 13 at St Bede's College in Christchurch.

Politics was always something that interested him.

Key enjoyable moments included watching Helen Clark become this country's first elected female prime minister in 1999 and being a youth MP in Parliament with Clayton Cosgrove.

But while both of those highlights involved Labour personalities, Veale has instead pitched his flag firmly in the ACT camp.

Why? Labour's objectives, especially around social issues, were to be admired but Veale did not like its "ambulance at the bottom of the cliff" mentality.

Veale said ACT believed most people were more than capable of taking care of themselves, though there would always be some that needed care from the state.

The University of Canterbury political science graduate said he was inspired by reading books by former Labour MPs turned ACT figures Richard Prebble and Roger Douglas.

Their stories convinced him to join ACT, a party clinging to political survival and with leader John Banks facing a High Court trial over his involvement in the Kim Dotcom saga.

But his rationale for standing in the by-election was more direct - "I want to make a show for ACT . . . show people we are still alive."

"It's very important for us [ACT] to be seen out there; the party is a lot bigger than just John Banks and we are also totally committed to next year [the 2014 election]."

Veale was starting his honours in political science studies when the February 2011 earthquakes struck.

He "threw that in" and took a job with the Earthquake Commission doing costings and later working with its community contact team.


Age: 24

Partner: Gemma Jones

Interests: Politics, spending time with his partner, reading.

The Press