Meet the Labour Party's new President Claire Szabó

Sean Plunket 02/12/2019
New Labour Party President Claire Szabó with Jacinda Ardern

On Saturday, Labour elected Habitat for Humanity CEO Claire Szabó as its new president. She steps into the top seat with two inquiries into the sexual assault allegations still underway.

Joining Magic Afternoons with Sean Plunket, Claire explains what she will do as president.

Sean begins the interview by congratulating Claire on her new role, and also asking for her to introduce herself.

Szabó explains how she is CEO of Habitat for Humanity New Zealand, “a non profit organisation that works throughout the country,” she further explains that she has been a Labour Party member for 12 years.

Sean attempts to build a picture of Claire asking about her background and personal history Claire tells Sean that her mother is from Southland, “Mum’s from Southland, she’s a Southland girl.”

Her grandfather was a coal miner and her mother is a nurse, explaining also her father came to this country as a refugee from Hungary.

He escaped communism, he came out to New Zealand by himself, his family were still back in Hungary.

“It was quite a big story for us growing up, learning about the difference between freedom, democracy and communist regimes and why it is so important to protect our democracy.”

Sean then moves the interview to Labour’s challenges in addressing allegations of sexual misconduct by a senior member of the party, with reports that an investigation into the incident will be delayed.

Szabó clarifies that reports of the investigations delay are from over a month ago before she had been named president.

She goes on to say that “sexual assault, sexual harassment, these are issues that do exist in our society, and it’s a real shame and it’s a real problem.”

It’s something that people who lead organisations need to be cognizant of.

She confirms to Sean that the investigations into Labour have not reached any conclusion and so she was discussing New Zealand more broadly.

You can listen to the full interview above.