Urban National candidate looks to create tech-focused jobs

By Te Rina Triponel

Ngāti Ruanui's Jake Bezzant is National's candidate for Upper Harbour, the Auckland seat vacated by retiring MP Paula Bennett.

The 31-year-old has a degree in law, politics and international relations and was formerly the chief executive of Parking Sense, a New Zealand high-tech company that offers a suite of intelligent parking solutions for industries like healthcare, smart cities and airports.

The businessman says he will "very much" be advocating for the tech sector to take New Zealand a step further post Covid-19 as part of an economic recovery.

"Our ability to create more jobs in that area is something I’m really passionate about," Bezzant told Tapatahi.

Bezzant says he was honoured to be elected as Upper Harbour's candidate, despite the hard process it took to get there.

"The National Party runs a really democratic process and it’s not all that enjoyable."

"It's a hard process but it prepares you for the role."

"It’s a great honour and a privilege."

When National leader Todd Muller took over from Simon Bridges after a recent coup, he rearranged his shadow cabinet, leaving out Bridges, which left only two Maori in top positions, Paula Bennett at No 13 and Dr Shane Reti at No 17. Mrs Bennett, the former deputy leader, then decided to retire at the coming election, which led to criticism of Muller for having only one Maori in his cabinet. However, he moved Reti up to No 13 late last week.

Bezzant says his participation as a candidate will diversify the party.

"The opportunities I got as a Kiwi to travel the world, to build a company – that's the diversity I bring and I think for Māori it's an enormous opportunity for the future."

"I'm focused on what I can do, which is Upper Harbour."

Bezzant says he's looking forward to "showing how hard I'm going to work for National" during the upcoming campaign before the election.