Meet the Youngest Candidate in This Election: A Voice for Animals
Sunday 8 October 2023, 11:57AM
In a political landscape where experience often takes the spotlight, there's a fresh perspective that deserves your attention. Meet Lily Carrington, the youngest candidate in this election, who is driven by a profound commitment to animals and a vision for a more compassionate world.
Barely 18 and voting for the first time, New Zealand’s youngest political candidate Carrington is juggling her last year at school with interviews and speaking engagements for the Animal Justice Party. She challenges the notion that age limits one's capacity for advocacy and creating change. Her motivation is simple and unwavering: "I don't want animals to be hurt. Any animals."
Carrington is standing in Hamilton East, while her mother, Melanie Wilson, is the candidate for Hamilton West. “I feel so lucky that my mum is equally devoted to helping animals, we make a great team.”
Carrington shared her deeply held belief that animals are not merely commodities but unique individuals with personalities, their own subjective experiences, and the ability to feel both happiness and pain just as we do. She emphasises that this extends beyond our beloved pets to encompass all animals, including those in farms, laboratories, and entertainment industries like racing and rodeo.
Lily says she never thought she would be standing as a candidate the first time she votes, but she believes that animals in this country need a voice in parliament. “After witnessing the cruelty that animals suffer on such a huge scale, I’ve made a commitment to myself that I will take every chance to do what I can to help them. When the opportunity arose to be a candidate for the Animal Justice Party, I couldn’t say no. Even though it puts me out of my comfort zone, I know my discomfort in no way compares to what many animals go through every day. I feel obligated to use my privilege to speak up for those who need help and have no one else standing up for them.”
"Animals are here with us, not for us" says Carrington. "They are no less capable of suffering than we are, but they lack the ability to speak up for themselves. This is why I believe they need us to be their voice."
Lily lives in Kirikiriroa with her many animal companions and has been doing public outreach and demonstrations together with her mother for years. She reflects “While I believe that grassroots activism has an essential role in helping animals, I also believe making change from the top down can be very effective, and I think it’s essential that every avenue is made use of to help animals as much as possible. Laws need to be enacted to protect animals. In the AJP we’ve got some fantastic policies that I hope will influence other parties as well. Especially after seeing the amazing achievements of the Australian Animal Justice Party, it gives me a lot of hope to be part of the Animal Justice Party Aotearoa NZ, which I believe will be a powerful tool for creating change for animals here.”
Lily maintains there are some things we just shouldn’t remain silent about. “The way we co-exist with other animals is a very important thing for me, another is the climate crisis. 50% of emissions in Aotearoa are from animal agriculture. The Animal Justice Party will assist farmers in a fair transition to plant-based agriculture, which will result in the drastic reduction in emissions that we need, as well as address the single biggest cause of animal suffering, animal agriculture, thus, as I like to say, it “feeds two birds with one scone”. At the same time this would come with the added bonuses of improving human health through healthier diets, and it would help to protect our land and rivers.”
Lily believes that what’s required is a shift in our normal patterns, to begin to think differently, and be creative in our solutions. “I hope more young people will get involved with the Animal Justice Party. The animals need us to act on their behalf, and rangatahi have a lot of innovative ideas, energy, and compassion to build a better, fairer society.”
In an election where diverse voices are essential, Carrington represents the voice of compassion and hope. Her dedication to animals underscores the importance of acknowledging that every life matters, and animals, too, are worthy of legal protection.
As we approach the election, Carrington invites all citizens to join her in this crucial mission to be the voice that animals so desperately need. “I’d love to see the Animal Justice Party do well in the Party Vote. If even one of our candidates gets into Parliament, then that would be a gamechanger.”