The governing Labour Party of New Zealand elected 41-year-old Claire Szabó, who has a New Zealander-Hungarian double citizenship.
The father of Szabó fled from Hungary in 1956 at the age of 17 and started a new life in New Zealand as an engineer.
Claire Szabó was born there and came to Hungary for a few years after turning 19. She learned Hungarian and acquired Hungarian citizenship as well. She lived in Hungary for five years altogether, reports 444.
After going back to New Zealand, she worked for a non-profit company which helped refugees and migrants to assimilate and learn English. That was when she started to engage in politics.
Not long after that, she left the company and studied at Harvard for a year. Then she considered coming to study at CEU, but she went back to Auckland to become the chief executive officer of Habitat for Humanity. She was active even then in social democratic politics.
New Zealand press states that the current leaders of the party, including Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, wanted Szabó to be president, and her speech at Congress sealed the deal.
In her speech, among other things, she spoke about the grievances of her father after he left Hungary.
He lived in a council-owned house for a long time after arriving in the country, and that is partly why she dedicated her life to those who are in need of help, education, or housing in order to assimilate so that everyone is given the opportunities her father was given to integrate into the society of New Zealand.
The former president of the Labour Party resigned because he did not handle a case of sexual assault allegations by his colleague appropriately. Here is Claire Szabó’s statement on the issue:
New @nzlabour Labour Party Party President @ClaireSzabo talks to media after winning the election. Answers questions on recent sexual assault allegations @NZStuff @henrycooke pic.twitter.com/W5GY2cT3Pp— Collette Devlin (@devlincolle) November 30, 2019
Szabó will probably give up her position at Habitat for Humanity to concentrate on her party presidency.