Exchange Detail


New Zealand Fellows to US

Mar 17 - 25 2018 San Francisco, CA, Sacramento, CA, and Washington, DC


Exchange Outline

The delegation visited ACYPL alum Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) at his Capitol Hill office

In March, ACYPL welcomed a six-member delegation from New Zealand, comprised of members of Parliament representing four political parties, for an 8-day exchange. Over the course of the exchange, the group visited San Francisco and Sacramento, California and Washington, DC for high-level political meetings, and a day of shadowing California State Senators. The exchange was conducted in coordination with the New Zealand Parliamentary Affairs Office.

One focus of the San Francisco portion was marijuana law reform, one of the biggest legislative issues in New Zealand, with the parliament currently working to pass meaningful legislation on the matter. The group visited the San Francisco Office of Cannabis where the Director and her team discussed San Francisco’s recent transition to legalizing the recreational use of cannabis. The delegation also toured the Tenderloin District of San Francisco with ACYPL alum, the Honorable Matt Haney, who is running for District Supervisor for that area. During the tour, the group discussed issues of homelessness, drug use, and affordable housing. Before traveling on to Sacramento, delegates met with team members at Airbnb and Google to talk affordable housing, innovation, and technology.

In Sacramento, the delegation spent an entire day individually shadowing California State Senators, which was a highlight of the trip. With the assistance of the California Senate Office of International Relations, ACYPL secured placements with 6 senators, representing both parties. The delegation was able to attend committee hearings, internal meetings, and had ample one-on-one time with their host to discuss matters of interest and share professional experiences. Chloe Swarbrick MP, described her time with Senator Holly Mitchell as “one of the best experiences I think I’ve ever had in my political life. The insight into the American legislature and contextual political and community issues was invaluable.”

In DC, the group had several high level meetings on the Hill, first meeting with Congressman Darrel Issa (R-CA) and ACYPL alum Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO). The conversations focused around US foreign policy towards the Asia-Pacific and New Zealand, specifically as it relates to economic concerns with China and issues with North Korea. The delegation then visited the National Republican Senatorial Committee where the National Policy Director discussed the outlook for the 2018 midterm elections before heading to the National Democratic Redistricting Committee to learn about Democratic efforts to reverse Republican gerrymandering. Before the delegation departed DC, they met with Daniel Lippman, co-author of Politico‘s Playbook and toured Woodrow Wilson Senior High School’s campus in Northwest Washington, DC.

In addition to a busy schedule of professional meetings, the group also hiked to a redwood grove in the Muir Woods, just north of San Francisco, and attended the March For Our Lives protest in Washington, DC.