Whakatau 2023 | Animal Rights

Caring for animals led election’s youngest and oldest candidates to stand for Animal Justice Party

She’s barely 18 years old and only just eligible to vote herself and in an election year where experience is needed, there’s a fresh perspective that deserves the nation’s attention.

Lily Carrington is the youngest candidate in this year’s election and represents the Animal Justice Party (AJP). She has a profound commitment to animals and a vision for a more compassionate world. She was driven into politics by her deep passion to care for all animals.

“I’ve always cared about animals for as long as I can remember, and I’ve been an animal activist for a long time, doing different kinds of street outreach and different kinds of events, speaking out for animals.

“But the Animal Justice Party is pretty new in Aotearoa, and I’ve just been a member since earlier this year, and then I was able to become a candidate as well, which is really exciting. I basically just want to take every opportunity that I can to speak up for animals, so when that opportunity came up, I was a bit out of my comfort zone, but I know so much about what happens to animals that I feel obligated, I guess, to take every opportunity I can to help them.”

Carrington says she has a deep commitment to working alongside tangata whenua to best care for native animals and species. She says Māori are the owners of the land and therefore their customs should be better recognised.

‘Listening to the people’

“We definitely think that’s a really important aspect, and obviously, probably the most important part about politics is listening to the people, because that’s why we have governments, to speak to the people. So that’s the most important part. We have to listen to people, we have to actually work together with people and hear what they want.

“So working with Māori people is essential, really, and we have to listen to their voices. This is our country together, obviously, this is Māori land. So yeah, we need to definitely listen to everyone’s voices, Māori voices, on issues like conservation, like protecting native animals and the environment.”

Carrington’s mother, Melanie Wilson, is also a candidate for the Animal Justice Party.

“She’s the candidate for Hamilton West, I’m the candidate for Hamilton East, and she’s also the general secretary of the Animal Justice Party.

Oldest candidate

“She actually got involved before I did, and that kind of gave me a pathway into it from there, because I don’t know if I would have been a bit too nervous to go straight in on my own. So I could see how it was going to work, and that it would be a really supportive group at the Animal Justice Party, they’re really amazing,” Carrington said.

Seventy-six-year-old Sandra Kyle is one of the oldest candidates to stand at this year’s elections and has been advocating for animal rights for decades.

“So, the AJP is committed to working with tangata whenua to forge a path for New Zealand that upholds Te Tiriti o Waitangi and meets the needs and aspirations of Māori. We want to encourage and establish relationships to set future goals. I can see that we’ve got quite a lot in common. Not everything but we do have a lot in common”, Kyle said.

The Animal Justice Party has 17 candidates throughout the country standing at this years elections.’