20 Oct 2020

'Fighting every step of the way' - New Green MP

1:32 pm on 20 October 2020

New Green Party MP Ricardo Menéndez March is ready to "fight tooth and nail" for his communities including rainbow and migrant groups.

Ricardo Menendez March of Auckland Action Against Poverty

Advocacy work for beneficiaries and low paid workers has put Ricardo Menéndez March on the path to Parliament. Photo: Supplied

Menéndez March, who is Mexican, enters Parliament at number 10 on the Greens' list.

He told First Up he has a big responsibility to advocate for LGBTQI, migrant workers and people living in poverty. He will advocate for better access to healthcare for trans people and a ban on conversion therapy.

"It's ultimately about making sure that I'm fighting every step of the way for good outcomes for our communities out there because ... often we leave it at the fact we represent our communities without fighting for our communities."

Menéndez March grew up in Tijuana, in Mexico, just 150 metres from the US border.

Watch RNZ's election night interview with the new MP:

He said while the presidency of Donald Trump has meant more focus on racism and xenophobia, they have been a problem in the region for years. As an area that is the focus of the US war on drugs, he grew up with US military flying over his house.

"The people I grew up with in many ways have taught me the resilience I have now and the ability to adapt."

He moved to New Zealand to study but found tuition fees too expensive and dropped out, working in the hospitality sector before becoming involved in political work.

This has centred on the Auckland Action against Poverty, helping beneficiaries and low wage workers and campaigning for more social housing and welfare reform.

Meanwhile, the Beehive will welcome its first African and Sri Lankan MPs.

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