Dunedin lawyer headed for Parliament

Out goes lawyer David Garrett and in comes lawyer Hilary Calvert, as ACT rearranges the deck chairs on its political Titanic.

Ms Calvert, 55, No 6 on the ACT Party list at the 2008 election, is Wellington-bound after law and order hardliner Mr Garrett resigned from Parliament today after revelations he used a dead baby's identity to forge a passport.

Ms Calvert was a sole practice lawyer, specialising in property law, until recently. She lives in Dunedin with her husband of 30 years, Alastair Broad. They have three adult children.

She is landlord of several student flats - one of her tenants is a daughter of former ACT deputy Heather Roy.

She has been on edge about coming to Wellington, since Mrs Roy was rolled as ACT deputy in August and it seemed she might leave the party.

But Mrs Roy came straight back from her defeat, so Ms Calvert will instead take up the party slot abandoned by Mr Garrett, who had voted to remove Mrs Roy as deputy to Rodney Hide.

"I guess lawyers always find their way into Parliament partly because they care a lot about the structure of society and how it's run and partly because they understand the laws and things a bit differently," she told NZPA last month.

She left law to get into something more community focused and had been thinking about what to do, Ms Calvert said.

Parliament would be a good option -- "that certainly counts as a serious community commitment".

Ms Calvert said ACT could do with more support nationwide, that she was a regional person and would be out in the regions if she became an MP.

She studied law and philosophy at Otago University and was a former trustee for the Otago Rail Trail Trust.

Her training as a "couple counsellor" might be a handy tool in a fractured ACT caucus.

She feared ACT's message of less government, more personal choice and better use of taxpayer funds had been lost.




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